Members of a group regarded as an 'organisation of concernâ€™ by the Home Office has secured large government grants for schools.
Leading members of a group that wants to bring down the British state and replace it with a dictatorship under Islamic law have secured more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money for a chain of schools.
Accounts filed at the Charity Commission show that the Government paid a total of £113,411 last year to a foundation run by senior members and activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir — a notorious Islamic extremist group that ministers promised to ban.
The public money helped run a nursery school and two Islamic primary schools where children are taught key elements of Hizb’s ideology from the age of five.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, last night described the disclosure as "astonishing and outrageous" and accused the Government of "sleeping on the job".
Hizb regards integration as "dangerous" and says that British Muslims should "fight assimilation" into British society. It wants to create a global Islamic superstate, or "caliphate", initially in Muslim-majority countries and then across the rest of the world.
It says that "those [Muslims] who believe in democracy are Kafir", or apostates. It orders all Muslims to keep apart from non-believers and boycott "corrupt" British elections and political processes. It has a tiny following and its views are rejected by most British Muslims.
Hizb, which operates worldwide, insists it is non-violent and condemned the London bombings.
However its website previously displayed a leaflet urging Muslims to "kill [Jews] wherever you find them" and at a rally in London earlier this year, Imran Waheed, its chief media adviser in Britain, said that there could be "no peace" with Israel, calling on Muslims to "fight" a "jihad… in the way of Allah" against it.
Its anti-Semitism has resulted in the group being banned in Germany and on some British university campuses.
After the bombings in London on July 7, 2005, Tony Blair, who was then prime minister, also promised to ban Hizb, describing it as "fanatical".
A ban has not been introduced but the Tories have pledged to outlaw the group and the Home Office continues to regard it as an "organisation of concern".
The three schools — in Tottenham, north London, and Slough, Berks — are run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, a registered charity. The foundation’s lead trustee is Yusra Hamilton, a leading Hizb activist who is married to Taji Mustafa, the group’s chief spokesman in Britain.
At least three of the four trustees are Hizb members or activists, including Farah Ahmed, the head teacher of the Slough school, who has written in a Hizb journal condemning the "corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom".
On their website, the schools say their "ultimate goal" and "foremost work" is the creation of an "Islamic personality" in children The creation of an "Islamic personality" is a key tenet of Hizb’s ideology.
The schools’ history curriculum states that children are taught that "there must be one ruler of the khilafah [caliphate]". The schools’ website says that "in the glorious history of Islam… the Sharia was the norm".
Children learn Arabic from the age of three. A spokesman for the foundation insisted that it was not a Hizb ut-Tahrir operation but involved "Muslim women from a wide variety of backgrounds".
The spokesman claimed that Mrs Hamilton resigned two years ago. However, Charity Commission records, accessed yesterday show that she remains the lead trustee.
In January 2009, Mrs Hamilton was described by Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, as the "proprietor" of the Shakhsiyah Foundation’s Slough school. The Foundation’s annual report of December 2008 shows her as a trustee.
Mrs Hamilton is listed on the electoral roll as residing just around the corner from the Foundation’s Tottenham school, with Mr Mustafa under his real name, Urutajirinere Fombo.
Contacted by telephone, he confirmed his identity as Mr Mustafa and said that Hizb did not "run" the foundation, but added: "We would certainly approve of those in the Muslim community who seek to establish good Islamic schools."
The Shakhsiyah Foundation spokesman said the government money, from Whitehall’s "Free Entitlement" and "Pathfinder" programmes, had been claimed by parents on behalf of the school.
However, a spokesman for Haringey council, which administered the grant, said this was incorrect and that the foundation had applied for the money.
The Tottenham school’s landlord, a moderate Muslim organisation, said it had serious reservations about its tenant. "They have a contract with us," said Serkan Yumakci, a spokesman for the landlord.
"But if we had known then what we know now, things would be very different." Mr Yumakci said that Mr Mustafa had previously been a frequent visitor to the school but had now been asked not to come by the landlord.
A report out next week by the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think-tank, says that Hizb is creating a number of similar "front organisations" to win public money and enlist support from mainstream politicians.
"Hizb is a fringe group but it is being given a public platform, legitimacy and funding by the very institutions it wishes to destroy," said Houriya Ahmed, one of the authors of the report. "Just as everyone sees the BNP for what they really are, it’s time for us all to recognise how dangerous and divisive this group is."
Outside a Victorian Gothic priory in Tottenham, which houses two of the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation’s schools, boys spilt out at home-time in their royal blue uniform sweatshirts.
Even the smallest girl wore the hijab. Most parents said they liked the school, but not all were aware of its links with Hizb. "We don’t really know about it," said one father.
Others, however, were more political. "Hizb ut-Tahrir is not an extremist group," said one mother, Khadija. "They’re people who want to stop the US domination of the Middle East." Was it a good school? "It’s a lovely school," she said.
"Because they love Islam." When the school realised there was a journalist outside, a teacher came to tell the parents not to talk to us. Some, however, ignored their orders.
"To be honest with you, I don’t prefer this school," said one father. "They don’t teach good English. Personally, I would say it’s not good for integration."
"It is a good school," his daughter, aged about six, interrupted. Asked what she was taught, she replied: "Arabic."
Elsewhere in north London, a new organisation called MCRCIA, Muslim Community Representatives in Camden and Islington Association, has organised or participated in a number of community events in the two boroughs.
Its website includes endorsements from a local Labour councillor and a representative of the area’s police and community consultative group.
However, the symbol MCRCIA chooses on its blog is the logo for a Hizb ut-Tahrir campaign, Stand for Islam. A spokesman for MCRCIA said it had "links" with Hizb, but it was not a "front organisation" and its members were not in Hizb.
The CSC report said that a number of other front organisations have been created in Tower Hamlets, several of them meeting in council-controlled buildings and community centres.
Hannah Stuart, another CSC researcher, described the proliferation of such groups as "genuinely worrying," adding: "Young people who get involved with Hizb ut-Tahrir’s fronts are tricked into believing its radical agenda represents true Islam."
Hizb has sometimes been accused of being a "conveyor-belt to terrorism", a charge it vehemently denies.
The Shakhsiyah school in Slough has been praised in a "light-touch inspection" by Ofsted, which said it "provides a good quality of education and meets its aims effectively" and that "pupils develop knowledge and understanding of British institutions and traditions".
However, there is no Ofsted report on the Tottenham school.
A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said: "We give that money to local authorities and they are responsible for ensuring that providers are appropriate."