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Lantern of Knowledge: How a bungled terror case ruined the career of an outstanding headteacher

lantern of knowledge

Abdullah Keekeebhai was the headteacher of Lantern of Knowledge, a successful independent Islamic school in London, until July 2019, when he was wrongly accused by police of obstructing a counter-terrorism investigation.

Keekeebhai was forced to resign and given an interim ban from schools while he was investigated for misconduct by the UK’s teaching regulator. He was eventually cleared in December 2023, but by then he had lost his career and his reputation had been ruined.

“My career in education has literally stopped during this near-five-year trial period,” Keekeebhai told Middle East Eye.

In the course of clearing his name, it became apparent that multiple public bodies, including the police, the Department for Education (DfE), and the Charity Commission, had all played a role in the events which led to Keekeebhai losing his job.

Government agencies made false claims about Keekeebhai’s school, Lantern of Knowledge, which were repeated unchallenged in the media.

The treatment of Keekeebhai has echoes of the so-called Trojan Horse affair, a now debunked episode in which Muslim teachers and governors were accused of plotting to take over and Islamicise state schools in Birmingham – which became a major media story in 2014.

In both incidents, successful Muslim teachers were wrongly targeted and smeared, with misconduct cases brought against Birmingham teachers over the Trojan Horse allegations collapsing in 2017.

Read more in the Middle East Eye.

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