'Hate' in the classroom

19 April 2016 - 02:23 By Suthentira Govender

Parents of pupils at Northwood High School in Durban North are up in arms after three men distributed a DVD, allegedly encouraging violence, while addressing the Muslim Student's Association.Police have launched an inquiry and the school's management has condemned the DVD.Yousuf Deedat, the son of fiery Muslim scholar Sheik Ahmed Deedat, visited the school last week, accompanied by two Saudi Arabians.The DVD, featuring Nation of Islam leader and US black militant Louis Farrakhan, were given to a few pupils as a "reward" for asking questions about Islam. The cover of the DVD quotes Farrakhan as saying, "America is living on borrowed time", "blood must flow to be free" and "loss of life has to take place".Concerned parents believed the visit was an attempt to recruit pupils into Islamic State, something Deedat has denied.School governing body chairman Grant Smith said staff had learnt with "dismay that inflammatory and racist propaganda material of a religious nature was distributed without our prior knowledge to a small group of learners on April 13. We have acted swiftly to establish the exact circumstances which led to the distribution of this material, which was not authorised or condoned by the school."Smith said the school would not tolerate "any attempt to indoctrinate or expose our learners to any messages or material [that could] incite hatred or disrespect".The school posted the following statement on its website: "We live in a world with many risks and dangers."Whilst it may not be possible to protect and isolate boys at all times, Northwood remains true to our purpose - to provide an educational environment devoid of bias and extremist views, and, most importantly, full of balance."Northwood boys can think. They are supported by a strong community, with parents infusing strong morals in a true partnership between school and home. Thank you for your ongoing support in this area."Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said copies of the DVD and other materials were confiscated from the pupils.Sheik Ahmed Deedat is known to have close relations with the family of Osama bin Laden. Yousuf Deedat said he chose to tour Northwood with his Saudi guests because his son had attended the school.He said: "There was no recruitment to Islamic State. That's nonsense. We were invited by the school to come there. We didn't gate-crash."This was not the first invitation. There were two other invitations over the years. We visited to see how it functions and meet the pupils and also to offer little gifts because it is Arab culture not to go empty-handed when you're visiting somebody."If people watched the DVD I guarantee you people will support it fully. Nobody has bothered to watch it, they are all making statements from hearsay evidence."Deedat said the DVD was an incentive to encourage youngsters to pose questions about the Arab culture.He added: "The police inquiry is going nowhere. It is my constitutional right to give out what I want. If they do charge me, I will counter-sue the state for millions."A parent, who asked not to be named, said: "Naturally I'm very concerned, but I'm confident that the school is doing its best to handle it."

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