Islamic primary schools against new Islamic high school in Amsterdam

A group of 15 Islamic primary schools in the Amsterdam region are calling on parents not to send their kids to a new Islamic high school set to open in the Dutch capital on September 1st. The board of the Islamic education foundation SIO "has no experience or affinity with education", the primary schools said in a joint statement, which is in the hands of NRC.

Initiator of this call is Redouan Boudil. He is the director of two school organizations, under which eight schools fall. Boudil called the SIO board members "cowboys with no eye for the public interest" in a statement to the newspaper. "We've been working hard to polish the image of Islamic education, and we will not have that spoiled by a bunch of idiots", he said to NRC.

Education State Secretary Sander Dekker also does not believe the SIO board capable of promoting active citizenship and social inclusion. He came to that conclusion when the SIO board did not immediately distance themselves from a 2014 Facebook post by one of its members, in which the member expressed support for terrorist organization Islamic State, the Volkskrant reports. 

Dekker refused to fund the school for that reason. But last week the Council of State ruled that he made this decision on incorrect grounds. The Council of State summoned Dekker to organize funding for the school in time to open for the new school year. "I still have little confidence in this board", Dekker said after the ruling, according to the Volkskrant. "I therefore find it frustrating that this school can now start. However, the judicial verdict leaves no other possibility."

In the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, the Council of State ruling prompted calls for a law that gives the Education Ministry the possibility to test a school's quality of education before the school opens. Dekker, who supports this idea, told the Kamer that the Education Inspectorate will keep an eye on SIO from day one to make sure it complies with all the legal requirements. "If this is not the case, then the Inspectorate will intervene", he said. 

This new high school will be called the Cornelius Haga Lyceum, the Volkskrant reports. The school has place for 184 pupils. It is only the second Islamic high school in the Netherlands - the other one is located in Rotterdam. The country does count a few dozen Islamic primary schools. 


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