The number of pupils attending Islamic primary schools in the Netherlands has risen 22% over the past five years, the AD reports on Friday.
In 2010, some 9,000 children attended an Islamic primary school, but this has now reached almost 11,000, the paper says.
‘The current climate in the Netherlands means Muslims are increasingly sticking together,’ Abdelsadek Maas, director of an Islamic school group in The Hague, told the paper. ‘If you wear a headscarf, you get weird looks. Children can be themselves at an Islamic school.’
The quality of the education on offer also plays a role, educational psychologist Jaap Dronkers told the AD. ‘In general, Islamic schools perform better than public schools with the same socio-economic base.’
There are now 49 Islamic primary schools in the Netherlands but no secondary schools. One secondary school in Amsterdam was closed in 2010 because of poor standards. A second in Rotterdam shut for similar reasons in 2013.
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