The teacher could not believe what he overheard. The 'visiting' imam was launching into a tirade against the Jews and Americans that bordered on the ludicrous.
But then came the clincher, he recalled. 'The imam told the students that the Jews were putting poison in the bananas and they should not eat them.'
The imam was told to ease up on the inflammatory language after staff objected.
Werribee College is from all accounts an Islamic school with a difference. According to former staff it was a longstanding practice of the school principal, Omar Hallak, to have Muslim staff sleep on the premises after big international terror attacks such as those in Bali and the London tube bombings to prevent retributive attacks.
The Sunday Age has been told that Werribee College appears intent on exporting its particular brand of Islam to Indonesia, an achievement made possible by generous commonwealth and state grants — estimated to be in excess of $3 million a year.
Canberra's big spending laissez-faire approach to non-government school funding, intended by former education minister David Kemp to boost the numbers of Christian schools, has fuelled an increase in community-based Islamic schools across Australia which qualify for the same subsidies.
Although the vast majority of these schools — established schools such as King Khalid Islamic College in North Coburg or newer schools such as Mount Hira College in Keysborough — are run openly and with regular contact and activities with students from non-Muslim schools, there are a small number, including Werribee, that shun scrutiny and contact.
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