Attila the Pun
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Oh, those bananas

Joseph Wakim in today's Age:

After the Muslim summit, Islamic schools were put on notice that they would be audited to ensure that their students understand Australian history, culture and values or forfeit their government funding.

Yet there has not been one shred of evidence to suggest any un-Australian activities are taking place behind these school walls or any link between the schools' curriculum and London-style home-grown terrorists.

I don't know if it counts as a "shred", but how about this from the Age on July 31?

The teacher could not believe what he overheard. The "visiting" imam was launching into a tirade against the Jews and Americans that bordered on the ludicrous.

But then came the clincher, he recalled. "The imam told the students that the Jews were putting poison in the bananas and they should not eat them."

True, thats more anti-semetic than un-Australian, but its certainly a start. Of course the Age gave the school a sympathetic showing - i.e. the teacher was shocked that the imam could say such a thing. The imam wasn't named, but would it be a fair guess that if we looked at any of his writings, his anti-Jew sentiments would be pretty clear? Maybe not the "poisoning the fruit bowl angle", but the general gist.

It is not just visiting imam that may cause people concern at the Werribee school:

The treatment of female staff and students has become an issue over recent years, with attempts to pay female teachers less, prevent them from sharing offices with male teachers and the imposition of strict dress codes.

Treating women as second class citizens used to be Australian behaviour, but thankfully may now be described as un-Australian I think.

And from the same article, regarding another (unamed) school:

The teacher was alarmed by what she discovered in the school library. An image of Christ in a book on comparative religion had been defaced.

When she asked students to explain, they told her that another teacher, a devout Muslim, had asked them to demonstrate that Islam was the one true faith by striking the picture with sharpened pencils.

"They told me they had been made to line up and one by one stab the picture," the teacher told The Sunday Age. "As far as I know, the book is still in the library."

If it had have been in Art class, they could have submitted the picture to the NGV and probably received rave reviews of course.

In one case a non-Muslim member of staff was told to remove a crucifix from the dashboard of a car parked in view of the students and a female Hindu teacher was ordered to remove marriage jewellery.

The teacher, who was dismissed from the school because she was "over qualified", is now employed at a Christian faith-based school.

She says she has no regrets about leaving. "The atmosphere at the school was unhealthy," she said. "When you asked children to write about their favourite hero, they nearly always wrote about Osama bin Laden."

Nothing to see here, move along.

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