Amsterdam: Three Muslim schools to close

State Secretary of Education Sharon Dijksma will stop the government subsidies for the El Faroeq Omar, At Taqwa and Abraham El Khaliel Muslim elementary schools. The schools will therefore close next year.

This step was taken after the cooperation between SIBA (association of Muslim elementary schools in Amsterdam) and Esprit school group did not work out. The parents of students in the SIBA schools had blocked the takeover.

The SIBA board resigned last year after fighting with the administration. An interim management took over which was supposed to straighten things out. Dijksma concluded in March that the organization was not making any breakthrough and a takeover was the only possible alternative.

Cor Meijer, spokesperson of Esprit, called the breakdown 'tough', since there was agreement on the board level. "Everybody wanted to make it a success." The parents, however, blocked the takeover.

The fathers and mothers wanted their children to go to a school with a Muslim board. The Esprit school group is not religious. The institution did promise that the two elementary schools will keep their Muslim character. For that a special Muslim advisory council would have been formed by the interim SIBA board and Esprit.

Meijer: "They wanted a Muslim school administration but that wasn't possible naturally. We're not going to change the identity of the other schools for this reason. Therefore the intention was to establish a Muslim advisory council in which all the important people will sit, but apparently that wasn't enough."

SIBA was not available for comment. The Amsterdam councilor of education Henna Buyne regretted that the takeover was off. The municipality supported the move.

All Amsterdam elementary school boards, including the Muslim ones, said they would be willing to admit the registered kids. There must be a new place for everybody before the end of the school year.

Source: Parool (Dutch)

See also: Complaints about Amsterdam Muslim school "recruitment" methods, Amsterdam: Islamic school must submit to inspection, Problems at the Foundation of Islamic Schools in Amsterdam

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