Amsterdam school threatened after counterterrorism warning

Empty classroom

The Cornelius Haga Lyceum received threatening emails after the national coordinator of counterterrorism and security NCTV warned parliament and the Amsterdam mayor that employees of the school had contact with a terrorist organization, ANP reports.

The threatening emails have been forwarded to the police, CEO Soner Atasoy of the Islamic Education Foundation, which covers the Cornelius Haga Lyceum, said to the news wire. The foundation wants to meet with the Education Inspectorate to clarify what the lyceum can do to improve the situation that has arisen. According to Atasoy, there is "absolutely no proof of the accusations, but the school has now been condemned.

On Thursday the NCTV warned Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema that teachers at the school devote part of the curriculum to "Salafist doctrine". According to information from the NCTV and intelligence service AIVD, school employees also have links with terrorist organization Caucasian Emirate.

Halsema requested that the board of the secondary school resign with immediate effect. 

In October last year the Education Inspectorate launched an investigation into the school. That investigation is still ongoing, though the Inspectorate established that "there is no climate in the school to make effective investigation possible due to the arrangement of the school management".

On Friday Minister Arie Slob for Primary- and Secondary Education said that the school hindered the Inspectorate in its work and that is "very serious and not acceptable", NU.nl reports. If the school continues to stand in inspectors' way, he "will not hesitate to stop the funding" for the school, Slob said before the council of ministers. In practice, this will mean the end for the Cornelius Haga Lyceum. Slob would have preferred to simply close the school, but that is currently not legally possible.

A legislative amendment is in the works to make intervention possible in situations like this one. Primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands are already obliged to give lessons on themes like democracy, human rights and the rule of law. But Slob feels that the interpretation of this is still too noncommittal. He therefore submitted a bill last summer to make intervention possible. 

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