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Dodgy Islamic school gets $19M in government funding restored

This mob has received more than $184m in federal and $45.5m in state funding since 2000.  All of that money was handed to the "school" for the sole and exclusive purpose of running a school that teaches the Australian curriculum.

But Malek Fahd school didn't spend our taxpayer money on teaching the Australian curriculum.

It admits that much of that money was skimmed off to support expansion of the Islamic school system, Mosque maintenance, Islam in general and perhaps terrorists.

The government got it right first time when it cut off the "school"'s money.

 

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Malek Fahd Islamic School in western Sydney has had its federal funding restored after a series of drawn-out legal battles with federal and NSW governments and its founding organisation nearly led to the school closing its doors on two occasions.

Federal funding totalling nearly $19 million per year will be restored to the private school after it replaced its entire board and negotiated a new rent arrangement with its founder, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, after allegations that AFIC was charging the school inflated rent.

 

"The Department has advised that [Malek Fahd] has rectified all issues relating to the management of the school," Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said in a statement.

It is understood that the school is still working to resolve similar issues with the NSW government, which contributes state funding of about $5.7 million, around whether it is operating for-profit.

Chairman of the school's board John Bennett said the federal government decision to restore funding gives the school and its 2500 pupils "certainty about its future".

 

"We've worked flat out, we've worked very hard to make sure the school is compliant if we're taking public money," Dr Bennett said.

Mr Tehan said the school will also need to have a separate bank account for recurrent funding from the federal government and demonstrate that "sale or lease arrangements for school land are commercially sound" to maintain its approval.

Malek Fahd's lawyer told the NSW Supreme Court last year that the school's board made an unprompted decision to double the rent it paid AFIC in 1995 and raised the annual rent to $900,000 in 2000, far more than the $400,000 at which a commercial valuation had placed market rent.

It is understood that the new rent amount was nominated by a judge on the basis of a commercial valuation.

ENDS

And this News Ltd report from January 2017 explains why the funding was cut. 

TAXPAYER funds for Islamic schools have been spent on mosque maintenance, Muslims Australia admitted yesterday after Sydney’s Malek Fahd school was stripped of $19 million in government grants.

The nation’s biggest Islamic college is now in danger of closing, flooding public schools in Sydney’s west with up to 2500 extra students this year.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham hopes to recover $76m paid to the school between 2012 and 2015.

“I know they are innocent students, as are their families and the hardworking teachers,’’ he said yesterday.

“I do feel for them but … we have to ensure taxpayer dollars are used for the benefit and wellbeing of students.”

The state government axed $5m in funding and the federal government froze $19m in grants last year after audits found funds had been funnelled to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, also known as Muslims Australia.Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it would “entirely a matter for the school’’ if it chose to close.

The school has now lost its appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which found Muslims Australia had been charging the school inflated rents of $2m a year.

AAT deputy president Bernard McCabe concluded that the school had been operating “for profit” with the proceeds benefiting Muslims Australia.

“The school was a big business,” his decision states. “Millions of dollars flowed through its accounts. While schools commonly pay rent on properties they use for educational purposes, the payment of inflated rents or advance payments without any proper basis is not acceptable.”

Both the school and Muslims Australia replaced their boards last year after the funding freeze. The new president of Muslims Australia, Keysar Trad — a former tax official who praises polygamy — said revenue from school rents had been spent maintaining mosques, subsidising poorer Islamic schools and paying staff salaries for Muslim community groups. He denied any money had been sent overseas or to Islamic State terrorists.

“Our surplus has always been used in Australia,’’ he said. “We condemn ISIS in the strongest of terms. Most of our surplus has gone into helping our member associations in the maintenance of mosques, paying the salaries of staff and subsidising schools that are not breaking even.” Muslims Australia reported a $2m profit in 2015, when it charged the Malek Fahd school $112,256 in “administration fees” plus $2.98m in rent for its three campuses in Greenacre, Beaumont Hills and Hoxton Park.

School chairwoman Miriam Silva yesterday demanded that Muslims Australia donate its land to the school.

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