One of the terrorists behind the 2017 attack on London Bridge worked in a classroom and raised questions about the regulation of schools. Metropolitan Police via AP. The UK government has shut down a scandal-hit British Islamic school where the head was identified as a “potential risk to pupils” after more than a decade of management failures and concerns over radicalisation.
The closure came in a year when the head of Birmingham Muslim School was banned from teaching during an investigation into an alleged failure to promote “fundamental British values” of tolerance and respect. The closure comes eight months after The National revealed that the wife of an extremist commander in Syria was in charge of child protection at the school attended by 83 pupils aged four to 11.
In 2017, inspectors said that staff “lack vigilance in being alert to the risks of pupils being radicalised” but later found that the school had tightened up its policies. The school had been subject to close scrutiny after it emerged that Ms Laws was married to a man once on a US sanctions list for allegedly funding the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
Ghunia Abdrabba later successfully appealed to have his name removed from the list in 2011, the year in which the group described by the UK as an Al Qaeda-linked “brutal terrorist organisation” was disbanded after securing its goal of the downfall of Col Muammar Qaddafi. Mr Abdrabba was identified as the proprietor of the school in 2017 before control was transferred to the Albayan Education Foundation, where Ms Laws is a trustee. Ms Laws did not respond to requests for comment.
The National reported in April last year that the “designated safeguarding lead” at the school was married to a man named by the UK government as the leader of Kateeba Al Kawthar, a multinational group of fighters in Syria with links to Al Qaeda. In a separate case, an extremist working at another school was jailed in 2018 after holding secret terrorism classes as he sought to recruit a children’s army to launch terrorist attacks in the capital.