Stand-off over Amsterdam Islamic school continues, Muslim groups get involved

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Islamic organisations in the Netherlands have called on the board of Amsterdam’s only Islamic high school to resign following claims by the security service that members of the board had links to terrorist organisations.

Six organisations, including the Islamic school organisation ISBO, have urged the board to stand down. ‘We note that individual interests are being placed above the importance of ensuring good, Islamic secondary education,’ the letter said.

A great deal of effort has been put into improving standards at Islamic schools in recent years and a growing number are now classed as ‘excellent’ by inspectors, the organisations pointed out.




The Cornelius Haga Lyceum leaders should therefore resign in the interests of the school’s pupils and the children of Amsterdam, the letter said.

The school opened its doors in 2017, despite efforts by both the city council and the education ministry to prevent it from opening.

The then education minister Sander Dekker had refused to allocate funding for the school, because a former board member was alleged to have shown support for IS on Facebook.

Now the AIVD claims that pupils at the school are being influenced by staff with terrorist connections. The AIVD says that between 2009 and 2012 these leaders were linked to a militant jihadi organisation called Caucasus Emirate which is based in the south west of Russia and is responsible for several terrorist attacks in Russia itself.

Funding

Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema has now frozen all funding to the school until the entire board resign. In a briefing to the city council, the mayor said that the children’s safe and democratic development cannot be guaranteed because the school is operating in parallel to society.

Halsema and Amsterdam’s education alderman Marjolein Moorman are due to hold closed talks with parents and pupils on Tuesday evening.

Despite calls for the school to be closed down, this will be extremely difficult under Dutch freedom of education rules, the NRC points out.

City officials were similarly powerless when the board of orthodox Jewish school Cheider refused to quit after a sexual abuse scandal.


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