Montreal’s El Forkane school, which focuses on teaching Arabic and the Koran, has been shut down after it was alleged that the school has been promoting radical Islamist ideals on its website.
Canada’s TVA news reported that the school was openly promoting radical Salafist sentiments. The Toronto Sun reported that the man in charge of running the school, Mohamed Ridha Rahmaoui, had previously claimed that he was teaching the school’s students based on secular principles.
“Beware of the enemies of Islam; they will always want trouble, they set traps, the largest of which is their schools,” read a message posted on the school’s website in Arabic. TVA claimed to have found 155 separate links on the school website espousing radical jihadist rhetoric.
Rahmaoui offered an explanation for the supposed misstep. “Sometimes we download these documents and they’re thousands of pages,” said Rahmaoui on a phone call with TVA. “Sometimes it gets by us. But if I see there are Salafirst ideas, I take them down. I’m not that kind of school.”
Rahmaoui’s brother, Ahmed, said that he co-founded the school with Mohamed to teach people to reject extremism. The brothers came from Algeria to Montreal five years ago, according to CBC.
The El Forkane school’s website says that its primary age group is children between the ages of five and twelve. The school also holds Arabic classes for adults, both Muslims and non-Muslims, according to its website.
Rosemont College, which rented the space to the El Forkane school, apparently had no legal authority in the matter over whom to choose as its tenant. “As we provide premises in return for rent, we can’t discriminate based on religious activity,” said Rosemont College CEO Stephane Godbout.