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HomeLatest NewsFormer head of London Islamic school cleared in terrorism probe misconduct case

Former head of London Islamic school cleared in terrorism probe misconduct case

Dec. 13: The former headteacher of an Islamic faith school in London has been cleared of misconduct by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), following a case in which he was wrongly accused of obstructing a counter-terrorism investigation, reports Middle East Eye.

Abdullah Keekeebhai stepped down as headteacher at the Lantern of Knowledge school in Waltham Forest, northeast London, after the Department for Education sought to bar him from management in July 2019.

In February 2020, he was given an interim ban from teaching by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), but the regulator only formally produced a set of allegations against him in April 2022. A hearing was set for February 2023, but ultimately delayed until September – over four years after he left the school.

On Tuesday, a TRA panel cleared Keekeebhai of all the allegations against him.

“I am pleased and relieved that after a long four years, the Teaching Regulation Agency has finally dismissed all the misconduct charges against me,” Keekeebhai was reported as saying.

According to the Middle East Eye report, the Department for Education, in July 2019, sent Keekeebhai a letter informing him that the Secretary of State was “minded” to bar him from the management of any independent school in England. This was on the basis of a witness statement given by a counter-terror officer who had been involved in the case.

In September 2019, the TRA notified Keekeebhai that they had received a referral from the police in pursuit of banning him from teaching. In February 2020, the TRA formally handed Keekeebhai an interim ban.

The TRA accused Keekeebhai of “unacceptable professional misconduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”. It alleged that he had unreasonably delayed in providing the police with information and had “misled and/or attempted to mislead the police and/or the local authority”.

The TRA also alleged Keekeebhai failed to safeguard pupils, fulfil his duty under the “Prevent” counter-terrorism programme and follow Prevent guidance.

In August 2020, the Charity Commission issued the Lantern of Knowledge school a formal warning, which was widely reported in the national media.

The hearing was held from 22 to 29 September. On Tuesday, the panel announced that it had found none of the allegations against Keekebhai to be proven, clearing him of professional misconduct. The presenting officer for the TRA, the panel determined, did not prove that Keekeebhai had failed to provide, or delayed unreasonably in providing, personnel information to the local authority.

The TRA did not prove that he had failed to respond adequately or that he had attempted to mislead the police and the local authority. Nor did it prove that Keekeebhai had failed to safeguard pupils and fulfil his duty under Prevent, or that he was dishonest or demonstrated a lack of integrity.

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