Monday, February 14, 2011
I had to have five CRB checks ... it's crazy, says former Archbishop of Canterbury
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has criticised ‘unnecessary’ criminal record checks after disclosing he has undergone five just to conduct a service or preach a sermon. Lord Carey said that after he retired from his role in 2002, he had been asked by some dioceses to help out as an assistant bishop.
He said that every time he agreed to a new role he was required to have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check – to vet those working with children or the vulnerable – even if he would not be working with children. ‘I had five sometimes,’ he said. ‘It’s crazy.’ Friends of Lord Carey, 75, who was an assistant bishop in Bristol and Southwark, South London, said the repeated CRB checks took place over several years.
As an assistant bishop, he would occasionally stand in for a bishop at a service, but would never have any role working with children.
One friend said: ‘Similar to supply teachers, clergy who work in a number of dioceses can have endless checks.’
He said another retired bishop, who had been asked to work in a neighbouring diocese, refused because he did not want to undergo the onerous checks.
Lord Carey made his comments on the BBC1’s This Week programme on Thursday night, the day before the Government announced it is to scale back Labour’s controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme. On the show he called on the Government to put flesh on the bones of its Big Society proposals by axing ‘unreasonable and repeated’ checks on volunteers who may never come into contact with children or vulnerable people.
Responding to the new Government plans yesterday, he said: ‘I welcome Nick Clegg’s proposals to relax CRB checks. Many people who have only occasional contact with children were forced through this hurdle unnecessarily in the mistaken belief that this safeguarded children. While child protection is vitally important, there must be a sense of proportion if all volunteering is not to be discouraged.’
Ministers say they want the checks, introduced in 2006 after the Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, to be reduced to ‘common sense’ levels. The vetting scheme, which requires everyone working with ‘vulnerable’ groups to register, has been fiercely criticised for requiring checks on a staggering nine million adults, many of them volunteers.
Among those affected by the legislation were a group of cathedral flower arrangers who last year staged a rebellion against demands they undergo the intrusive checks. Twenty women from Gloucester Cathedral Flower Guild, including head flower arranger Annabel Hayter, 64, refused to have their pasts examined.
Miss Hayter, who was forced to resign because she refused to have the check, said: ‘It is insulting. They are all lovely ladies who would not hurt a fly. They are not paedophiles. When I can rise above the sadness of it all it is laughable, pathetic.’
The scheme was also forced on church bell-ringers and St John Ambulance volunteers who had to undergo the vetting process to clear them to come into contact with children.
But now it will apply only to professional childcare workers or teachers – those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults. The number who will need to have background checks will halve to around 4.5 million, officials predict.
Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner said. Employers found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines of thousands of pounds.
The quango due to administer the scheme, the Independent Safeguarding Authority, will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau.
Those who do require checks will have their records constantly updated so a new trawl is not required when they move jobs. The measures will be contained within the Coalition’s flagship Protection of Freedoms Bill.
Why, Mr Broken Reed, is being controversial a sacking offence?
Who said these words? ‘Approximately 20 to 33 per cent of child sexual abuse is homosexual in nature.’ I will tell you. It was the Home Office, on Page 14 of Sex Offending Against Children: Understanding The Risk, published by the Policing and Reducing Crime Unit in 1998. I have a copy.
For saying roughly the same thing, Dr Hans-Christian Raabe has just been sacked – by the Home Office – from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). That’s right. He has been sacked from a body to do with drugs, for having unfashionable views about sex, views that the Home Office has itself espoused.
A pathetic creature called James Brokenshire has allowed his name to be put to the letter that formally dismisses Dr Raabe. This is the first known instance of anyone being fired from a Government post under the provisions of Harriet Harman’s Equality Act 2010, Section 149, though I don’t think it will be the last.
Mr Broken Reed did not actually sign the wretched epistle, as a smudged rubber stamp indicates. I don’t blame him. It is a cowardly document and so sloppily prepared it even manages to misspell Dr Raabe’s address.
Dr Raabe is accused of having expressed ‘controversial’ views on homosexuality and of having ‘failed to declare them’, though they are traceable in seconds on the internet and he had no good reason to think they had anything to do with his appointment.
It has come to something when a man is required to guess which past words of his may be regarded as ‘controversial’ when seeking a state appointment, and be dismissed for getting such a riddle wrong.
I have spent several days trying to discover exactly what the Home Office means by ‘controversial’ in this case, or who defines this word. No reply. I think we should also wonder why it is a sacking offence, in a free society, to be controversial.
When I asked them if their own publication’s words on the subject were ‘controversial’, they wouldn’t say. They’re hiding something.
And what they are hiding is this. That when the Prime Minister defined himself the other day as a ‘muscular liberal’, he meant exactly what he said. The official ideology of Britain, from Downing Street downwards, is a militant and highly intolerant political correctness, originating in Marxist thought and forced on us by EU directives (so much for ‘Euroscepticism’).
Interestingly, this miserable dogma is all he has to offer in response to the growing challenge of Islam in our streets and in our culture. Not centuries of Christian tradition, and the heritage of Magna Carta and the Glorious Revolution, but ‘equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality’.
The affair of Dr Raabe is one of the most fascinating episodes of modern times. The doctor, who is German-born and so at least can’t be accused of ‘xenophobia’, works in a poor district of Manchester and observes every day in damaged lives the dismal effects of the law’s feeble attitude to supposedly illegal drugs.
He can see for himself that the official policy of ‘harm reduction’ is actively doing harm. His appointment to the ACMD (to a seat reserved specifically for a GP) was a great moment for every mother and father who wants the State to stop complacently accepting mass drug abuse as an unalterable fact, and instead to help keep their children safe from the little packets of madness on sale at the school gates.
It was a great blow to the selfish, irresponsible people who have for years spread the false idea that drugs can be taken safely, and denied the growing evidence from the mental hospitals that many young cannabis-users go irreversibly, horribly mad.
His dismissal is a great loss to those who care about the lives and minds of the young.
I will reserve for another time an examination of the fascinating role of a senior figure in the supposedly impartial BBC in what happened next. He deserves a lot of time to himself, and I shall get round to that.
But let us say that a campaign to remove Dr Raabe, boosted by anonymous misty threats of resignations from the ACMD, roared rapidly into action.
And that, preferring political correctness to an honest, decent doctor worth dozens of any of them, this Government swiftly bowed to that campaign. And that the person directly responsible for this grovelling [Brokenshire] hawked himself to the people of Old Bexley and Sidcup as a ‘Conservative’. And they believed him. It would be funny if it were not so disgusting.
Secret filming at Muslim schools in Birmingham and Yorkshire shows pupils being beaten and 'taught Hindus drink cow p***'
It is an assembly hall of the sort found in any ordinary school. Boys aged 11 and upwards sit cross-legged on the floor in straight rows. They face the front of the room and listen carefully. But this is no ordinary assembly. Holding the children’s attention is a man in Islamic dress wearing a skullcap and stroking his long dark beard as he talks.
‘You’re not like the non-Muslims out there,’ the teacher says, gesturing towards the window. ‘All that evil you see in the streets, people not wearing the hijab properly, people smoking . . . you should hate it, you should hate walking down that street.’
He refers to the ‘non-Muslims’ as the ‘Kuffar’, an often derogatory term that means disbeliever or infidel.
Welcome to one of Britain’s most influential Islamic faith schools, one of at least 2,000 such schools in Britain, some full-time, others part-time. They represent a growing, parallel education system.
The school is the Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham, an oversubscribed independent secondary school. Darul Ulooms are world-renowned Islamic institutions and their aim is to produce the next generation of Muslim leaders. In fact, these schools have been described as the ‘Etons of Islam’.
This school is required by its inspectors to teach tolerance and respect for other faiths. But the Channel 4 current affairs programme Dispatches filmed secretly inside it – and instead discovered that Muslim children are being taught religious apartheid and social segregation.
We recorded a number of speakers giving deeply disturbing talks about Jews, Christians and atheists. We found children as young as 11 learning that Hindus have ‘no intellect’ and that they ‘drink cow p***’.
And we came across pupils being told that the ‘disbelievers’ are ‘the worst creatures’ and that Muslims who adopt supposedly non-Muslim ways, such as shaving, dancing, listening to music and – in the case of women – removing their headscarves, would be tortured with a forked iron rod in the afterlife.
In 2009 this school was praised by Government-approved inspection teams for its interfaith teachings. The report said that ‘pupils learn about the beliefs and practices of other faiths and are taught to show respect to other world religions’.
It seems that the inspectors were unaware of the teaching methods revealed by our undercover reporter, Osman. He was taken on as a volunteer at the Darul Uloom school in Birmingham in April 2009 and was allowed to sit in on some lessons – but not their Islamic classes.
So, in July last year, he went into one of the rooms where we’d heard they taught Islamic studies and left a secret camera to record the lessons. Filming intermittently over a period of four months, the camera recorded children being taught a hardline, intolerant and highly anti-social version of Islam.
During the same period our reporter also attended the Markazi Jamia mosque in Keighley, West Yorkshire, after hearing of serious allegations that children were being hit at its madrassa.
Madrassas in the UK are part-time after-school or weekend classes, often held in mosques, where children are taught to read the Koran. In Keighley it is not what they are being taught that is the problem, but how.
Again, Osman went into the mosque and left the camera in the room where classes took place.
The film shows children as young as six sitting on the floor of a large room in the mosque, one of the biggest in the country. The boys are hunched over wooden benches, rocking backwards and forwards as they rote-learn the Koran in Arabic. A man with a long white beard dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez – tunic and trousers – sits at the head of the class.
Periodically he gets up and walks behind the boys. As he passes, the children appear to cower and watch him nervously. It soon becomes clear why. He unexpectedly raises his hand and slaps a young boy hard on the head. Moments later he strikes another. And then he kicks a third child.
In just two days of filming in December 2010, the camera recorded the teacher hitting children as young as six or seven at least ten times, in less than three hours of lessons.
From what we could see, every single blow was pretty much unprovoked. We soon realised that the beatings were routine. The behaviour of the boys, the way they flinched and backed away when he approached, indicated that they were long-accustomed to being hit and kicked as they studied.
In another incident an older boy, left in charge of a class while a teacher is out at prayer, picks up a bench and threatens to hit a younger boy with it.
During the making of this Dispatches film I have often counted my blessings. I received my Islamic education at home. My mum would read the Koran with me and most of my knowledge of Islam came from within the family. Others have not been so lucky.
Osman was subjected to beatings at four separate madrassas in the East Midlands as a child. He says that for the nine years he spent going to after-school Koran classes, he was hit regularly, at least a couple of timesa week. ‘It destroyed my confidence,’ he says, ‘and the worst bit was never knowing when it was going to happen. I had a horrible teacher who would use his fists, a stick, a shoe, anything he could find. He’d just get angry and lash out.’
Osman’s young cousins go to the same madrassas he attended and told him the beatings were still continuing. This persuaded Osman to try to reveal the truth behind the private world of faith schools. Over a period of two years he bravely placed cameras in both schools and collected highly sensitive material for us. His experience of madrassas is not uncommon. But persuading people to go on camera about this has been difficult. One family who were willing to talk were too frightened to do so openly.
Academic and theologian Dr Taj Hargey invited me to visit his part-time Islamic school in Oxford where children are taught in mixed-gender classes.
Here I witnessed a modern and refreshing method of teaching. Pupils were told to respect other faiths, ask questions about their religion and recite from the Koran in English as well as Arabic.
Dr Hargey told me he set up this school because of claims that Muslim parents had made to him about beatings in other madrassas. ‘It’s an outdated, archaic concept,’ he says, ‘and if we inflict this violence we will sow the seeds of violence in them.’
Sir Roger Singleton, former Government chief adviser on the safety of children, and Ann Cryer, former MP for Keighley, want the law to change to ban physical punishment in supplementary classes, as it does in full-time schools. ‘It just isn’t acceptable,’ says Cryer. ‘We wouldn’t allow this to happen to white kids going to Sunday schools.’
If the law on physical punishment does change, that would be one way to protect the very young that attend these classes. But these part-time and full-time Muslim schools also need closer scrutiny – the regulatory system needs to be tightened up.
However, we have a Government that, on the one hand, gives grand speeches about tackling the causes of extremism, as David Cameron did last week, while, on the other, encouraging local communities to set up their own schools – including faith schools. It’s time to stop these mixed messages.
And Muslims can no longer sweep this under the carpet – they need to face up to what is happening behind closed doors. Many warn that if we don’t all tackle this toxic mix of hatred and violence head on, we will reap the whirlwind in years to come.
An easy way to boost Canada
Contrary to popular opinion, most politicians are not imbeciles. Many are clever and a few are brilliant. So low-hanging fruit in politics is hard to come by. If it's a vote-winner and doable and good for the country, chances are someone has already done it or is planning to.
So why, we have to ask, have neither the Liberals nor Conservatives yet seized the banner of Canadian "values-based" patriotism and made it their own?
It's waiting to be done. It should be done. Whoever does it will reap a powerful electoral benefit, maybe even a majority-building wave. They'll tap into sentiment that bubbles just beneath the surface everywhere across Canada, especially in Quebec.
So why haven't they done it?
Last week in Munich, British Prime Minister David Cameron made an extraordinary speech. Some young British Muslims, he said, find it hard to identify with Britain because "we've allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism we've encouraged different cultures to live separate lives apart from each other and apart from the mainstream."
Cameron continued: "We've failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We've even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious frankly, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them."
Cameron was condemned by opposition politicians, who said he was playing to Britain's far right. The Muslim Council of Britain called the speech "disappointing."
Here in Canada, there wasn't much response at all. It was as though the British PM hadn't opened his mouth. Or as though everything he said didn't apply equally here. When, of course, it does.
The recent spat over kirpans in Quebec's legislative assembly is a case in point. Three weeks ago a group of observant Sikhs were turned away from the assembly building after they refused to leave their kirpans, small ceremonial daggers, with security. This week Quebec MLAs voted unanimously to support the ban.
In Ottawa this issue has been handled with great delicacy - as though it were the unfortunate act of a misguided cousin. Neither of the major parties quite knows what to do when one "oppressed" minority flexes its cultural muscles in a clash with another "oppressed" minority. The political reflexes cancel each other out.
Canadians have grown accustomed over the past 40 years to thinking it's rude to assert shared values - secularism, free speech, gender equality, religious pluralism, racial equality, the right to laugh at anything - when they conflict with the religious observances of a minority.
Cameron's point is Britons can no longer safely allow this to continue. The demonstrated murderous capacity of British homegrown militant Islam, in particular, has proven this.
The same applies here. We must become more intolerant of intolerance. We must insist on live-and-let-live, rather than simply advocate for it and hope for the best.
A simple way to make this point in Canada would be to amend the Oath of Citizenship, to include a vow to uphold values of tolerance, liberty and gender equality. Yet none of the parties in Ottawa want to go there.
Why not? Conservatives are afraid it would backfire, alienating communities they're working hard to woo. And Liberals are stuck in their belief that state-sponsored multiculturalism is a sacred cow.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.