Al-Taqwa College principal says he does not believe excessive running causes girls to lose their virginity

Apr 24, 2015 by

Henrietta Cook -Authorities will investigate a principal’s denial that he banned girls from running at sporting events because he believed it could cause them to lose their virginity.

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority is investigating a former teacher’s claims that girls at Al-Taqwa College were discriminated against and prevented from participating at cross country events.

On Thursday Mr Hallak denied the allegations, saying girls at the Islamic school participated in a range of sports including running over a range of distances, basketball, cricket and hockey.

But he would not say why primary school girls were withdrawn from a district cross country event.

“Girls are encouraged to participate in all activities, with participation subject to parental consent. We do not believe that running excessively may cause female students to lose their virginity or that sporting injuries could render them infertile.”

The former teacher wrote to the federal and state education ministers to raise concerns, Fairfax Media reported on Thursday.

“The principal holds beliefs that if females run excessively, they may ‘lose their virginity’,” the letter said.

“The principal believes that there is scientific evidence to indicate that if girls injure themselves, such as break their leg while playing soccer, it could render them infertile.”

Last month The Age revealed that Mr Hallak told students that Islamic State was a plot by western countries, and he personally believed the terrorist group was created by Israel and the U.S.

Another former teacher backed the claims that Mr Hallak had opposed girls running, as well as someone involved in the district sporting event.

A group of primary school students voiced their concerns in a handwritten letter to Mr Hallak obtained by Fairfax Media.

“It was really shocking to find out it has been cancelled because of the excuse girls can’t run.”

Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Ghaith Krayem said he doubted the allegations but would contact the school.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said if the claims were true they would be “very, very concerning”.

“When the bell rings in the morning male and female students must get exactly the same opportunity and access to activities.”

Mr Merlino said schools must meet minimum standards and the authority had the power introduce sanctions against schools.

On a day when some commentators conflated the claims with Islam, many other schools were eager to point out that they encouraged girls to participate in competitive running.

Erin Wyatt, the head of physical education at East Preston Islamic College, said girls at her school were encouraged to run and were training for the school’s first athletics carnival.

An Al-Taqwa parent with two girls at the school dismissed the claims about Mr Hallak.

“They do basketball, they run around the school, they do everything,” “Hannah” told radio station 3AW.

But when asked about whether girls were banned from cross country events, she said “I’m not so sure”. Another parent said the school did not treat girls the same as boys.

A state government spokesman said during the recent school holidays a government official met with five of the school’s representatives in response to the principal’s “reckless comments” about IS.

He said the government was reassured children were “not being taught such things”.

The spokesman also said Mr Hallak was contacted earlier this week to arrange a meeting to discuss intercultural curriculum and interfaith exchange programs with other faith-based schools.

Source: Al-Taqwa College principal says he does not believe excessive running causes girls to lose their virginity

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