Thursday, December 07, 2006

Two Muslim students have been expelled from an Islamic school in Melbourne for urinating and spitting on a Bible and setting it on fire

Cameron Stewart:

The explosive incident has forced the East Preston Islamic College to call in a senior imam to tell its 650 Muslim students that the Bible and Christianity must be respected.

Anxious teachers at the school have also petitioned principal Shaheem Doutie, expressing "grave concern" about an "inculcation of hatred and radical attitudes towards non-Muslims" at the school, including towards non-Muslim teachers.

The Bible desecration took place last week at a school camp held near Bacchus Marsh, about 50km west of Melbourne, attended by 33 teenage Muslim boys ranging in age from Year7 to Year 10.

A school report of the incident, obtained by The Australian, says it happened late at night and involved three students and another two watching.

"The main perpetrator (a Year 7 student) urinated on the Holy Bible, tore some pages from the Holy Book and burnt them then finally spat on the Holy Book," the report says.

The second boy, from Year 9, "tore pages from the Holy Book and burnt them", while a third student, from Year 7, "tore pages from the Holy Bible and then he rolled it up like a cigarette and pretended to smoke it".

The boys come from a variety of ethnic Muslim backgrounds -- one is believed to be an Albanian/Malaysian, another Lebanese and another Indonesian.

Mr Doutie, whose school receives about $3.9 million in state and federal government funding each year, told The Australian yesterday that both he and the school community were appalled by the Bible desecration and that he had expelled the first two boys and suspended the third.

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