THE Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) has strongly denied that its schools are encouraging anti-Western sentiments.
The federation's comments followed the release of details of a letter from Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson to his state counterparts.
In the letter, Dr Nelson said he had received several letters raising concerns that teaching in Islamic schools might encourage anti-Western and anti-Christian feeling among its students.
He said that while he did not concur with such sentiments, he encouraged public schools to comply with the teaching and curriculum standards.
AFIC president Dr Ameer Ali said he appreciated Dr Nelson's action and was not concerned about the letter at all.
“Allegations that Islamic schools may be encouraging anti-Christian and anti-Western feeling in students is not true,” Dr Ali said.
“Since the events of Sept 11, the AFIC has encouraged Islamic schools to emphasise Australian and aboriginal culture and history in the curriculum for a well-rounded education in the Australian context.
Commenting on violence in recent student antiwar protests, Dr Ali said that while he did not condone such behaviour, it was unfair to blame people of West Asian appearance for such action.
Dr Ali said Muslim and Arabic leaders deplored such characterisation as it exacerbated attacks on people of such background “at a time when these communities have been bearing the brunt of racist and religious attacks”. – Bernama