Education minister refuses to fund Islamic school in Amsterdam

Junior education minister Sander Dekker has ruled out funding a proposed Islamic secondary school in Amsterdam in the latest stage of a long-running dispute.

In a letter to parliament, Dekker said he was not convinced that the Amsterdam Islamic Education Board (SIO) could fulfill its ‘legal citizenship duties’, adding: ‘We cannot use taxpayers’ money to support a school where children learn to reject the Netherlands rather than become part of it.’

The row began two years ago when a member of the school’s management board, Abdoe Khoulani, openly expressed support for the aims of Islamic State. He immediately stepped down from the board, but Dekker criticised Kholani’s colleagues for not ‘immediately and unconditionally’ denouncing his remarks.

The organisation was also in dispute with Amsterdam’s city council after the local authority refused to allocate it a school building. It won a judgment last year at the Council of State, which ruled the council must find a suitable building by October 2017, but without government funding the school cannot go ahead.

Dekker also ordered the education inspectorate to assess whether the SIO’s educational programme was ‘compatible with the Dutch democratic process’, but the school refused to co-operate. The SIO has filed an official complaint with the ministry and claims the investigation has no legal basis.

In a statement to Nieuwsuur, the SIO replied: ‘Since 2013 junior minister Sander Dekker has been slandering and besmirching Islamic school authorities with the aim of damaging their capacity to survive.’