UK: Saudi-funded school teaches religious hatred

A Saudi-funded Islamic school in London has been accused of poisoning the minds of pupils as young as five years with a curriculum of hate.

Colin Cook, 57, claims text books used by children at the King Fahad Academy in Acton, west London, describe Jews as “repugnant” and Christians as “pigs”.

The father-of-three, a Muslim convert, allegedly heard some of them saying they wanted to “kill Americans”, praising 9/11 and idolising Osama bin Laden as a “hero”.

Mr Cook, who taught English for 18 years at the Academy, was sacked from his £35,000-a-year post in December for alleged misconduct relating to the exams procedure. He is claiming £100,000 compensation for unfair dismissal, race discrimination and victimisation.

In legal papers lodged with Watford Employment Tribunal, he claims the Academy used text books by the Saudi government’s Ministry of Education which taught religious hate.

“The schoolbooks presently in use describe Jews as ‘monkeys’ (or apes) and Christians as ‘pigs’,” he says in the documents. Students are asked to “mention some repugnant characteristics of Jews”, and Year 1 pupils are asked to “give examples of worthless religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, idol worship and others”, he adds.

He also alleges that when he complained to school chiefs about the content of the curriculum and questioned whether it complied with British laws, he was told: “This is not England. It is Saudi Arabia”.

Originally founded for the children of Saudi diplomats in London, it now caters for children of British Muslims and devotes half of lessons to religious education teaching almost all classes in Arabic.

American human rights group Freedom House highlighted some of the textbooks for anti-Western and anti-Semitic views in its 2006 report called “Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance” citing one book which instructed students to wage Jihad against “the infidel” to “spread the faith”.

The Saudi government at the time did admit some of the books were “inexcusable” but denied they were being used outside Saudi Arabia. A sister school of the Academy in Bonn, which has the same name, has previously been singled out by the German intelligence services as being a meeting place for extremists.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

Speaking today Mr Cook, of Feltham, south London, said the school had been “very good” until the majority of British teachers left in 2005, and claimed “there had been a move towards a pro-Saudi agenda”.

He added: “It is clearly very divisive. The vast majority of Muslims, including myself, are law-abiding, tolerant of others and peaceful.”

Mr Cook claims he was sacked after blowing the whistle on pupils cheating to examining board Edexcel in August 2006. The school denies his allegations and says he was rightly dismissed.

The Academy declined to comment today. But its new female principal, Dr Sumaya Alyusuf, told the Daily Telegraph last month that it had dropped the Saudi curriculum following complaints from parents it failed to prepare children for life in the UK.

The move followed an investigation in 2004 which found that the Academy was teaching British children “fundamentalist” Islam and allegedly giving girl pupils an inferior education.

However, the school has denied that its pupils have ever been subjected to extremist teaching.

A report by Ofsted, the education watchdog, in March last year praised the school for offering pupils “a balanced education and opportunities to develop their intellect and skills”.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday February 6, 2007.
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