STUDENTS at the Islamic school from which two boys were expelled for desecrating the Bible were shown videos of a banned cleric calling Australian Christians “evil” and non-Muslim schools “sewers”.
Teachers at East Preston Islamic College say students have also been seen downloading and copying material from a website that attacks the Bible as promoting “vicious criminal acts”.
The Australian yesterday revealed the school in Melbourne’s north expelled two boys and suspended a third over the desecration – a Bible was urinated on, spat on and burnt – during a school camp for boys from years 7 to 10 boys last week.
The Australian has obtained a videotape from the school’s library of a lecture given for Australian Muslims by the firebrand British convert Abdur Raheem Green, who was blocked from coming to Australia last year.
In the video, believed to have been taped during a visit in 2003, Green describes Australian non-Muslims as “evil people” and says Muslims in this country must openly criticise Christianity and lure people to Islam.
“If we leave (Muslims) in these (non-Muslim Australian) schools they will be destroyed,” he says in the sermon.
“You know very well what takes place in these schools … it is all about evolution, Christmas, Easter, St Valentine’s Day – a barrage. And you expect your children to survive? You think you live in a sewer and you come up smelling of roses?
“Merely living in the company of evil people will inevitably begin to rub off on us and we will begin to acquire their characteristics.”
A teacher, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the tape, marked East Preston Islamic College, has been shown to students at the school. It is not known if the tape was seen by the three boys who desecrated the Bible.
Another teacher said yesterday he had seen students at the school downloading and copying pages from the website Evilbible.com.
“For far too long priests and preachers have completely ignored the vicious criminal acts that the Bible promotes,” the website says. “The so called God of the Bible makes Osama bin Laden look like a boy scout.”
Principal Shaheem Doutie has apologised for the desecration by “ignorant” and “illiterate” children and insists his school promotes religious tolerance. Mr Doutie, who has been at the school since April, said he was unaware of any radical material in the library.
He had previously instructed library staff not to accept any radical material and said he would take steps to remove anything still there.
The desecration was yesterday condemned by Muslim and non-Muslim leaders who called on the community not to overreact.
The Catholic Archbishop in Melbourne, Denis Hart, said there was a good relationship between the Muslim and Christian communities in Melbourne. He said all holy books should be respected.
Yasser Solimon, a former head of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said his community was shocked by the desecration, which should be seen as “the actions of stupid boys rather than any reflection on the school or the wider community”.
“I think this needs to be seen in the context of five years of certain types of reporting on global events like the war on terror, what is happening in Iraq, attacks on the Koran by some soldiers in Guantanamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal,” he said. “It is sad to see the hatreds of one generation being passed on – we need leadership here to stand up collectively to this.”