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March 23, 2015 8:36 pm

Australian Principal Tells Students Islamic State Was Created by Israel

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Victoria's Al-Taqwa College. Photo: Screenshot.

The principal of an Islamic school in Melbourne tells his students that the Islamic State terror group was created by Israel and Western countries as a tool to control oil in the Middle East, Australia’s The Age reported on Monday.

“They are trained and equipped by them: [the] evidence is all the shiny new equipment,” said Al-Taqwa College Principal Omar Hallak. “We don’t believe Muslims are creating IS.”

Hallak said he tells the almost 2,000 students at Al-Taqwa College, Victoria’s largest Islamic school, not to join Islamic State because it was created as a scheme by Western countries. He told the publication that he shows students “evidence” that Islamic State terrorists are “not linked to Islam” and that killing innocent people “is not the Islamic way.”

Hallak told The Age that Al-Taqwa College has not faced issues of student radicalization because pupils are educated to be good Australian Muslims and “follow Australian law.”

Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino on Monday slammed Hallak’s claim about Israel and Western nations backing Islamic State and labeled the comments “dangerous and confusing” for students.

“They’re reckless. They’re dangerous and it leads to confusion in young people,” Merlino said. “The best way to tackle radicalization is through education of young people. The worst thing you can do is put reckless and dangerous ideas into their heads.”

Keysar Trad, a spokesperson for the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, told Fairfax Radio on Monday that while Hallak was trying to discourage youths from joining the terror group, he was going about it the wrong way. Trad said the principal should be told “we appreciate what you’re doing, but we don’t need the ‘us and them’ approach.” He claimed there is a minority view that the terrorist group is “a plot from forces outside of Islam,” either in the West or within the Assad regime in Syria.

“I can understand anyone taking offence to being in any way implicated in the type of crimes that IS has been reported to have done,” Trad added. “But in the bigger picture scheme of things, the real issues are that we have to find as many ways as possible to convince young people to keep away from this group and have negative feelings towards this group.”

Trad also told the radio station that the Islamic State group had done an “unprecedented level of damage” to the image of Islam.

The Age revealed in February that principals frequently asked the Australian Principals Federation about the challenge of radicalization of students and parents at their schools. One Melbourne principal told the publication that two children at his government primary school had parents fighting for the Islamic State in Syria.

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