THE HAGUE, 09/04/08 – A primary school in Amsterdam wished to provide its pupils with an understanding for other cultures. But during a visit to a mosque, the children were told they were dogs.
With a view to developing understanding and respect for other cultures among children, primary school De Horizon regularly organises outings to various religious organisations. The chairman of the El Mouchidine mosque told the children from group 7 (aged 10) and their chaperones however that non-Muslims are dogs.
In a letter to the children’s parents, the school expresses its regret at the incident: «We are shocked that during the guided tour, the mosque’s chairman told the children and chaperoning parents that non believers were dogs. We consider this statement as unacceptable since we allow our children to partake in this project to develop respect for freedom of religious choice».
In the meantime, the school’s management has addressed the mosque on the undesirable behaviour of the chairman. Both parties will say nothing further on the matter. «We will resolve the matter amongst ourselves and I have no inclination whatsoever to discuss the matter with the media», as newspaper De Telegraaf quoted the school’s spokesperson Mariet ten Berge. «We have been to the mosque before and it always went well».
Angry parents had sent the letter on to De Telegraaf but were reportedly rapped on the knuckles by the school’s management. «The school wishes to play this down. That is precisely the problem», as one mother commented.