Schools Minister Announces Inquiry into "Intolerance" Claims
King Fahad Director removes offensive chapters
It was announced today that Schools Minister Jim Knight has ordered an inquiry into claims that the King Fahad Academy promoted religious intolerance. The claims were brought by a sacked teacher who is claiming £100,000 from the school for unfair dismissal.
The Acton school has been at the centre of a raging controversy this week. Its Director Dr Sumaya Alyusuf appeared on Newsnight on Tuesday and faced an interrogation by Jeremy Paxman who asked her about textbooks which, he said, described Jews as "apes" and Christians as "pigs". Dr Alyusuf told Paxman that the offensive chapters had been "taken out of context" and that those pages were not used to teach children at the school.
Yesterday, at a press conference at the school, Dr Alyusuf announced that the material had been torn out. She said "The press interest in these unusued chapters has shocked us." She also told the press conference that pupils and parents had been abused by local residents.
In a press release, the school said that the allegations made by Mr Cook, the teacher who is claiming for unfair dismissal, were absurd. The press release also stated that Mr Cook, who worked at the school for 19 years and educated his two daughters there, had never made complaints over racist teaching materials before.
King Fahad Academy, which dropped the official Saudi curriculum last year and now teaches the international baccalaureate, the Swiss-accredited curriculum used worldwide, was praised recently by Ofsted for providing a "balanced education".
February 12, 2007