Muslim teacher got interview by posing as white Briton on CV
HIGHLY-QUALIFIED teacher Hamid Mahmood blew the whistle on Islamophobia in education recruitment procedures yesterday after changing his name to Harry Mason landed him an interview at a school that previously rejected him.
After failing to be shortlisted twice for a job at Langdon Academy in east London last year, Mr Mahmood decided to try to “whiten” his name and apply again.
In less than seven hours, “Mr Mason” had an interview offer, despite having exactly the same qualifications and even the same phone number and home address as Mr Mahmood.
The religion and theology teacher, who has almost 15 years in education and two master’s degrees with high distinctions, told the Star: “I was kind of fed up now of applying for so many schools [and not getting interviews].
“I was 50/50 on whether I should leave the profession completely and it was at that point I thought: ‘Let me confirm my assumptions’.”
On May 22, he sent his application forms with all the same information as before, but omitted all his connections to Islamic organisations.
“Some might say maybe it was a coincidence,” he said, adding that spending years in academia and thousands of pounds on his education “was not worth it.
“It doesn’t really matter about your effort and your degree. It matters more about your faith and the colour of your skin or the name that you have.
“And those things are things that I’d never want to change.”
As a result, Mr Mahmood has now left teaching altogether.
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) head of advocacy Abed Choudhury said Mr Mahmood was not alone.
“This is a wide employment issue.
“His experiment isn’t even the first one. Others have done this in the past and they found out that when you drop an obvious Muslim name for an Anglicised one, suddenly they get a lot more success in their jobs.”
Figures published last year by the National Office of Statistics showed Muslim men were almost 76 per cent less likely to get a job compared to their white counterparts.
“There has been a growth in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the UK, coming from top down in the rhetoric used by the government and the rhetoric in the media,” added Mr Choudhury.
Langdon Academy refuted all allegations of institutional Islamophobia.
In a statement to the Star the Brampton Manor Trust which runs the school said: "Clearly, there are a number of variables that influence which candidates are shortlisted and which are not.
"Principally, and obviously, one of these is the quality of other applications received.
"At Langdon Academy we are proud of the wide cultural and ethnic diversity of our staff and confident in our recruitment procedures."