Muslim school for Dunedin

The former St Patrick's Primary School in Melbourne St, South Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The former St Patrick's Primary School in Melbourne St, South Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
South Dunedin is about to host a secondary boarding school for senior Muslim boys, in a former Roman Catholic school.

The former St Patrick's Primary School in Melbourne St has been sold by the Dunedin Catholic Diocese to the Al-Noor Charitable Trust, a Christchurch-based charity established to develop Islamic educational institutions in New Zealand.

Trust chairman Mohammad Alayan said Muslim children attending state secular schools were subjected to an educational environment which pressured them to adopt values which were contradictory to Islamic values, such as evolution theory, sexual relations outside of marriage and drinking.

To alleviate this "cultural deficiency", the trust would establish An-Nur Kiwi Academy (AKA), which would be the South Island's first Islamic school.

Dr Alayan said the trust had intended to set up the academy in Christchurch, but the earthquakes prompted them to relocate the project to Dunedin.

The academy would operate as a not-for-profit school under charitable status, and would accommodate about 100 year 11 to year 13 boys from across the country.

Despite the academy's aim to provide a high-quality education with an emphasis on the Islamic value system, Dr Alayan said the New Zealand national curriculum would be taught by about 15 to 20 staff who would include qualified Islamic studies and Arabic language teachers.

The academy could be opened as early as next year, but it would be more realistic to expect it to open at the start of 2014, he said.

Otago Muslim Association secretary Bjorn Oscar Sollie was both surprised and delighted by the announcement.

"I'm very, very pleased. It will be a great asset for the Muslim community in Dunedin, as well as New Zealand."

University of Otago politics lecturer and member of the Dunedin Muslim community Dr Najib Lafraie was also pleased with the announcement.

"It sounds like a good idea. We value the religious aspects of the schools. It is something important for Muslims," he said.

"The whole environment emphasising morality and sense of community in the school is an important issue."

Dunedin Catholic Diocese general manager Stuart Young said the deal was finalised on Monday, but settlement would not occur until early next year.

Everything but the school's hall building was part of the sale. It would be relocated to the Catholic church in Ranfurly, he said.

Mr Young declined to say how much the trust paid for the premises, but said it was "at the low end of the market scale".

"It's a happy end as far as we are concerned, and we're looking forward to seeing what the new users do with the site."


Thread closed

This thread is now closed - Ed

Religion of freedom

It may interest 'speedfreak' that many Muslims who come to NZ choose to do so because of the higher education. Many return back to thir home country after completing their education.

I would like to mention that all Muslims are free to choose between right and wrong according to the guidelines from our Creator. No one in Islam can force their religion on another human being. It is well known in Islam that it is human nature that changes a religion to suit one's own agenda or cultural background and not because of 'islamic doctrine'.

It is well recognised that the first two years of life are the most critical for learnng, so why wait until 18 or older to choose your religion. Many people who are 'left to choose' until adults are still 'lost' until they die not knowing their purpose of living.

Brainwashing children

Do people and groups of people have the right to educate their children in any values whatsoever? What if those values are anti-social? How is that judged? And by whom?

If people do have a right to teach their children anything they like (even to hate other groups), then should the state contribute to those education costs? And what if children are being taught to hate the values of the state as well?

An early ideal for education in NZ was that it was to be free, compulsory and secular.

Maybe it would be best for NZ society if this ideal was (thoroughly) upheld and any 'religious' education had to be an after-school activity. Then children would have a chance to choose their own values. And there would be no risk of the state nurturing its own ideological enemies.

Differences to catholic schools

Catholic schools teach sex ed and evolution in exactly the same way state schools do. The article says that the Muslim school will not.

Really? Max Power

You should perhaps watch some world news and see if you can then pick the difference.

Catholic schools

This is no different to having catholic schools in NZ.

There's a reason they come to NZ

There is a reason they have come to New Zealand. I cannot believe they would come here and wish to continue with those beliefs, as the religious squabling is what drove them out in the first place.
I have nothing against any religion. I do however belive it should be kept seperate from politics and schools. It should not be forced on the young and impressionable.
Once they are of voting age they can make that decision for themselves.


Thin end of the wedge

Having lived and taught in the Middle East I saw first hand how the Muslim education system worked and I was appalled at the lack of separation between religion and state. There is no such thing as democracy in Middle Eastern states, nor freedom of speech - particularly within the education system.
What concerned me most was the appalling treatment of women teachers within the education system and the disregard for merit based results and educational quality. Favours sought because of family or tribal ties often influence grades and marks.
I hope the separatism of muslim education in Dunedin does not lead to the development of teachings at odds with secular and democratic New Zealand. I fear however it will be the thin end of the wedge, and when the next insult of Mohammed occurs there will be protests on the streets of Dunedin.

Muslim education system

For my money, if those of the Muslim faith choose to live in New Zealand then they should be subject to the same rules and education as everybody else.

Go to a Muslim Country and tell them that you want your own education system and rules, see what happens.

I am not a follower of any organised religion myself.



As a secular state I see no reason why we should allow religions to deny their children the scientific truth of how humans came to be. The Earth isn't flat and the sun doesn't revolve around it.

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