Jihad Pedagogy in Austria

Our Austrian correspondent AMT sent us a tip for the following article about the Islamic Religious Community in Austria, which found itself in a spot of bother over a schoolteacher who had connections with the Syrian jihad or somesuch — you know, one of those trivial, inconsequential incidents that infidels blow all out of proportion and get so upset about.

AMT had this to say about the piece:

This is an interesting story about a “radical” teacher preaching basic Islamic tenets to his students and who was consequently sacked by the Islamic Faith Community, which purports to speak for all Muslims in Austria but in reality only represents around 1,000 registered Muslims.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation from ORF:

IGGiÖ Withdraws Vienna Islamic Teacher’s Credentials

by Michael Wei
April 10, 2014

The Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ) has withdrawn permission to teach from one of its religious teachers. He had published Islamist propaganda videos for the Syrian civil war on the internet.

Last Friday, through a report in the Tyrolean Daily News, a broader public was exposed to a video in which teacher Hisham A. interviews a Syrian rebel, who has in the meantime been killed. Things moved swiftly after that. On Monday, there was a statement from the Viennese school council that the IGGiÖ had been asked to withdraw teaching permission. And the IGGiÖ announced Monday that all necessary steps had been taken.

Statements like those of Hisham A. in the internet video were insupportable for the religious community, Carla Amina Baghajati, IGGiÖ press officer and special inspector for religious instruction in the elementary schools , said to ORF.at. Hisham A. — presently at his own request on a year’s unpaid leave — would definitely not return to teaching.

School Council Acts

In any case, termination of the professional relationship, said the IGGiÖ, was the province of the school council. Like other recognized churches and religious societies, the IGGiÖ only proposes the teachers. They are hired by the state. The school council told ORF.at on Monday, that the legal situation in the case of Hisham A. was presently being investigated. Hisham A. would definitely not be teaching classes again.

But there is also a prologue to this case. Hisham A. has apparently been under observation by the IGGiÖ for some time because of his dubious activities. He has for years had connections to the organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which openly advocates the caliphate and rejects all Western forms of governance. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several European countries. In the video in question, Hisham A. appears as “media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Syrian sector.”

Teaching Unobjectionable

Hisham A. had never shown this inclination in his teaching, said both the school council and the IGGiÖ. His teaching style and its content had been unremarkable and his behavior otherwise correct, according to Baghajati. Besides, she said, “he assured those in authority that he never spoke of these sympathies during religious instruction. If he had acted contrary to that, it would have been noticed.”

To the question of why Hisham A.’s accreditation had not been withdrawn sooner, the answer from the IGGiÖ is: “Originally, the suspension without pay seemed to make a further procedure unnecessary.” Furthermore, it was necessary to decide whether someone was harboring a “private” sympathy for a way of thinking, or was “beyond that” participating “in an armed conflict.”

“His now known activities as media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the armed conflict in Syria make his return to teaching impossible,” said Baghajati. No one would any longer be hired who did not clearly pledge to follow the religious community’s policy.

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