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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 12:21 GMT
Saudi school's regret over books
The King Fahad Academy
The King Fahad Academy has phased out the Saudi curriculum
The director of an Islamic school says she should have immediately "chucked out" books that landed it at the centre of a religious intolerance row.

Dr Sumaya Alyusuf of the King Fahad Academy said no one there had read the texts, parts of which label Jews as "repugnant" and Christians as "pigs".

But she told the Guardian newspaper they had no place in the school.

Schools minister Jim Knight has ordered an inquiry into the Saudi-funded independent school in west London.

I've also set up a committee to check through the rest of our texts to make sure there's nothing that could be similarly misinterpreted
Dr Sumaya Alyusuf

Dr Alyusuf says the Arabic books, which translators for BBC2's Newsnight said included passages which were offensive to other religions, were not used to teach pupils and did not form part of the school's curriculum.

"The passage in question was just a footnote in a secondary Arabic text," she told the Guardian.

Dr Alyusuf agreed to remove the passages in question from the books some time after the controversy hit the headlines.

She now says: "I should have immediately done what we have since done, and that is not just to remove the pages in question but to chuck out the whole book."

She added: "I've also set up a committee to check through the rest of our texts to make sure there's nothing that could be similarly misinterpreted elsewhere.

"If there is, we shall get rid of it as well."

New curriculum

Dr Alyusuf said she had not done this immediately on learning of the texts' existence because she had been caught on the hop by the ensuing media storm.

"The whole situation was so unfamiliar and blew up so suddenly, I didn't think it all through properly."

She added that she had wanted to consult other senior members of staff before taking such an important decision.

Dr Alyusuf also described how the school had phased out the Saudi curriculum in the wake of the 11 September terror attacks.

Official probe

Many parents had become concerned because of its content and because it limited students' future university prospects, she said.

It now offers the International GCSE and hopes to move to teaching the International Baccalaureate by September.

The controversy blew up after a former teacher who is suing the academy for wrongful dismissal accused the school of teaching from the books.

This led the schools minister to order a probe into the Acton school.

Mr Knight said he had noted the school's recent statements and that no judgement had been made.

But he also said: "It would be completely unacceptable for any school to have material which makes the sort of inflammatory assertions that are being alleged."


SEE ALSO
Probe into Islamic school ordered
08 Feb 07 |  Education
School edits controversial books
07 Feb 07 |  Education
Q & A: Muslim schools
07 Feb 07 |  Education

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