Court tells minister he can’t cut Islamic school funding in one go

The Cornelius Haga Lyceum in Amsterdam's port area. Photo:
The Cornelius Haga Lyceum in Amsterdam’s port area. Photo:

Education minister Arie Slob has been told by the highest Dutch administrative court that it cannot stop funding for Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school.

Slob wanted to stop funding for the Cornelius Haga Lyceum because the school had failed to appoint an acceptable interim administrator.

But the Council of State said that Slob would have been breaking his ministry’s own rules if he switched off the funding in one go. The rules state that funding can only be stopped altogether after winding down process lasting six months.

Slob said he would stop the school’s funding in October following the publication of report by school inspectors which said the school was failing to teach pupils the values of democracy and the rule of law. Unless the school appointed a new board, the funding would be halted, Slob said.

The school’s lawyer has welcomed the ruling and says he hopes for a similar result at another court case on December 9 about whether Slob was right or not to order the school to appoint a new head.

The Haga Lyceum has also been the focus of long-running controversy about its connections with radical Islamic preachers and earlier this year, the AIVD security service told Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema that it was being influenced by ‘undemocratic groups’, prompting her to freeze funding.

The school has taken a combative approach, trying to block publication of the last inspection report through the courts. It has always denied being influenced by radical elements, and the inspectors’ report found no evidence that it was indoctrinating pupils along Salafist lines as had been claimed.

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