Rotterdam: Christian school expels boy, parents sue

Rotterdam: Christian school expels boy, parents sue

The original article repeated this story twice, so here's the summary:

Mohamed Bouchkhachakhe (11) was expelled from the Protestant Christian elementary school Pniel in Rotterdam-South six weeks ago.

The school claims the expulsion was because of Mohamed's systematical misbehavior for the past year and a half.  He had 'problems in class situations and conflicts regarding the identity aspects of the school'.  Further Mohamed, "because he wants to be a good Muslim, doesn't want to participate in activities when teachers ask that," and "uses denigrating and threatening language against teachers and members of the administration."

His parents say the only reason their son was expelled was because he didn't pray together with the rest of his class.

Miloud, Mohamed's father:  "I told them that we respect their religion, but they should also respect ours.  We had already agreed that he would sit in class with folded hands during prayer, but that was apparently yet not enough."  The father claims the school intentionally made his son's life miserable, trying to get the kid to leave on his own.  Therefore, they blamed Mohamed for everything that happened.

Mohamed was first suspended for two days, but since he didn't agree with the reason for the suspension (disturbing the order in class), he showed up at school and refused to go away, until the police had to be called in.  The school claims that Mohamed's older brothers threatened the principal, Miloud says it's all a lie.

After this incident Mohamed was expelled from school and the parents were advised to take the kid to a Muslim school.  C. Tuc, of the  PCBO (the Protestant organization which runs the school)says that this was just advise, since Mohamed himself said that he wanted to be a good Muslim.  As to the question whether children can refuse to pray he remains vague, but finally says: "At our school children have a right to respectfully participate in the prayer,"

The parents called in the anti-discrimination agency Radar and the national Equal Treatment Commission.  Both bodies said the case was exceptionally interesting and the investigation more than worthwhile.

They also took a lawyer, who sent the school a letter demanding they take Mohamed back.

The school is meanwhile trying to find Mohamed another school, though they also think the parents should be involved in that as well.  The Rotterdam school inspectors think it is unacceptable that an elementary school child sits at home for so long.

Source: AD (Dutch)

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