Concern after suspected ISIS agents visit Durban school

2016-04-15 11:00
Northwood High School

Northwood High School (Northwood website )

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Pietermaritzburg - Was Islamic State (ISIS) on a recruitment drive at a Durban high school on Wednesday?.

Parents of children at Northwood High School on Thursday raised their concerns after two visitors to the school from Saudi Arabia, accompanied by a South African, handed out a DVD and pamphlets to some matric pupils that they fear promote extremism and could be seen as an attempt to recruit pupils to Islamic State.

The Witness received a call from a parent who felt the distributing of the material was not appropriate. She said her son had been among those who had been addressed by the group.

She said the DVD was propaganda with references to hate speech, terrorism, sexism and racism.

“One of the parents phoned the principal and he wasn’t aware of it.”

The school’s deputy principal, Reggie Govender, confirmed that the school was investigating whether any attempt at recruiting pupils for ISIS had taken place.

Govender told The Witness a group of visitors had been given permission to speak to the school’s Muslim Students’ Association but were later taken by the teacher who organised their visit to address a group of Grade 12 boys. While addressing the Muslim students, the group handed out CDs of the Qur’an.

Boys who asked questions were given a package wrapped in red shiny paper that contained a DVD that depicted a talk by Durban Muslim scholar Ahmed Deedat.

Govender said the teacher, who allowed the group to speak to the matrics without permission, had been placed on a leave of absence while their investigation was completed.

He said many concerned parents had called both him and the principal about the incident and that they were working with the Department of Education and the police, who had already questioned the teacher concerned.

“The school is treating this very seriously. The police will track down the names of those who came to the school and take it from there. We are still trying to see who they are connected to. They were such unassuming people, you would never suspect them of distributing hate speech to pupils. Pupils are very impressionable. We take the well-being of our pupils very seriously. Some parents wanted to keep their children at home. We are working on a plan to inform parents what to do.”

Govender said there were also concerns that the group may have been to other schools, and that would be part of their investigation.

Police confirmed they were investigating the matter.

Questions sent to the department were not answered at time of going to print.

Read more on:    durban  |  education

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