Saturday 17 August 2019

Amsterdam Islamic school had links with controversial British imam: NRC

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The NRC on Friday published more details about the security service report on Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school, which has led to officials calling on the board to resign.

The paper say it has seen AIVD documents which claim controversial British imam Haitham al-Haddad held ‘secret’ meetings at the school and that the school’s head and his brother have donated money to a Chechen terrorist group.

Al-Haddad who has been under fire for his views on Jews, homosexuality and female genital mutilation, was at the centre of controversy in the Netherlands in 2012 when he was invited to speak at Amsterdam’s VU University. After pressure from parliament, the invitation was withdrawn.

Until now it was unclear why the AIVD had warned city officials about the school and why mayor Femke Halsema stopped its funding.

Soner Atasoy, director of the Haga Lyceum, confirmed to the NRC that Haddad had visited the school but denied he had taught classes.

He also denied that his brother, who also works at the school, had given money to the Caucasus Emirate which is based in the south west of Russia and is responsible for several terrorist attacks in Russia itself.

Salafists

The AIVD also warned that the school had close contacts with several other Salafist leaders, including Turkish imam Abdullah Özütürk, who had taught several Dutch jihadis prior to their departure for Syria, the NRC said.

In addition, the report gave several examples of what it called Salafist influence at the school: the dismissal of a teacher who wanted to discuss homosexuality, segregated classes for boys and girls, three compulsory prayer sessions a day, and a separate room for girls who were menstruating to go to during prayers.

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