Education secretary David Blunkett has demanded that the school is shut down unless it gives details of its owners, governors, teachers and pupil numbers. If it fails to do so, the government will
strike it from the register of independent schools. It would then be illegal for the school to continue and the Nation of Islam would face prosecution if it attempted to keep it open.
Sources at the DfEE believe the west London school is 'extremely unlikely' to comply with the order and will have to close. The move could increase racial tension at a time when feelings are running
Since taking over the Simba Community Centre in Shepherd's Bush in 1997 the Nation of islam has refused requests to meet the legal requirement of giving basic details about the school. It is
believed that up to 30 pupils, aged from five to 16, attend the school, where lessons focus on African and Islamic subjects. The children are in single-sex classes and are protected by minders
from the group.
In a further twist, Hammersmith and Fulham LBC has stepped up attempts to move the school out of the community centre, saying it is badly needed by other black groups.
The Nation of Islam, which set up its British arm in 1986, was not available for comment.