School head: running may rupture hymens
Omar Hallak, above, principal of an Islamic school in Melbourne, reportedly prohibited girls from running in sporting events because it could cause them to lose their virginity.
Female students at Al-Taqwa College, in Truganina, were also barred from playing soccer as a sports injury “could make them infertile”.
The school’s regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, is reportedly investigating the claims levelled at Hallak, who earlier this year courted controversy when he suggested Islamic State was supported by Western countries, and that IS had not connections with Islam.
In a letter sent to education ministers and published by The Age, a former teacher at the college said:
The principal holds beliefs that if females run excessively, they may lose their virginity. 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.
The teacher claimed Hallak stopped the female cross country team from participating in a 2013 and 2014 district event.
The girls had been training hard for the competition when Mr Hallak realised they were set to compete and cancelled it. The girls were said to be distraught by Hallak’s intervention and penned hand-written letters of complaint in which they expressed their disappointment. One student wrote:
It was really shocking to find out it had been cancelled because the excuse girls can’t run.
The teacher claimed she had worked at another school where both boys and girls had equally been encouraged to take part in sporting activities.
I look back on my time at Al-Taqwa with frustration and anger, which is how I felt most of the time while I was working there.
I did my best to stay committed to the students. However in the end, I was unable to provide the same opportunities to students that I was given when I was at a primary school, more than 20 years ago.
Education minister James Merlino said the allegationsare concerning and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority is investigating.
Hat tip: Paul Duveen