Dutch intelligence boss speaks out about Islamic school controversy

High school classroom
High school classroom. (Photo: HaMinh1997 / Wikimedia Commons)

Intelligence and security service AIVD underestimated the social impact its official report earlier this year on Amsterdam Islamic high school Cornelius Haga Lyceum would have, AIVD director Dick Schoof said to the Volkskrant. The service warned Amsterdam that the school wanted to devote half of its curriculum to Salafist doctrine, causing an uproar. 

"We have to conclude that we did not sufficiently control, contain, the social dynamics. That we did not sufficiently take the feelings in the Muslim community into account", Schoof said to the newspaper.

According to Schoof, the AIVD did not insist that the information in the official report be made public. "We do no benefit from the disclosure of confidential communications", he said. But the national coordinator for counter-terrorism NCTV and the municipality of Amsterdam were allowed to disclose the information, he added. 

Schoof understands why the NCTV and Amsterdam decided to go public with the information "in the political-administrative constellation that emerged", he said to the newspaper. "But I would have preferred that we could have continued our work in peace. Our aim was not to elicit a discussion about this school."

On Wednesday it was announced that the supervisory committee on the intelligence services CTIVD will investigate how the AIVD provided information about the school to other government agencies.

The Cornelius Haga Lyceum denies teaching Salafist doctrine as part of its curriculum. An investigation by the Education Inspectorate found no indications that the school's lessons had a Salafist character, though did find indications of financial mismanagement at the school. The Inspectorate concluded that the school does not encourage intolerance, and also does not impede integration into society.

The school received threats after the AIVD warning. 

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