Two private schools are at the centre of a bitter political clash after David Cameron, the Tory leader, alleged that the schools in Slough, Berkshire, and Tottenham in north London had received £113,000 of public money after being set up by an "extremist Islamist foundation".
He claimed in Prime Minister's Question Time that the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation (ISF), which runs them, was a "front organisation" for the hardline group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, retorted that the schools had been inspected and allegations of extremist links were found to have no substance. He said the cash they had received went on providing nursery places at the school in Tottenham. Farah Ahmed, the head of the Slough school, protested that it had not been contacted by Mr Cameron before he made his comments in the Commons.
She said: "Our school is being used as part of a wider political agenda and this type of vilification of the Muslim community needs to stop."
But Michael Gove, the shadow Schools Secretary, told Radio 4's PM programme that the situation was "genuinely worrying". He said: "We know they have received public funding and we know the charity concerned has links with Hizb ut-Tahrir."