Al-Taqwa College in Victoria is now under investigation by the state's education regulator after claims emerged that principal Omar Hallak had banned schoolgirls from running out of fear that it could affect their virginity and fertility.
Al-Taqwa College in Victoria is now under investigation by the state's education regulator after claims emerged that principal Omar Hallak had banned schoolgirls from running out of fear that it could affect their virginity and fertility.

Islamic principal denies running ban to protect virginity

A PRINCIPAL at an Islamic school has denied banning female students from running at sporting events because he believed it could cause them to lose their virginity.

A former teacher at the Al-Taqwa College in Victoria sent a letter to education ministers this week claiming girls were prevented from taking part in a running competition and had not been allowed to participate in a 2013 and 2014 cross-country district event, according to reports by Fairfax Media.

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They claimed Mr Hallak was unaware the girls were training for the event and prevented them from entering when he realised they were hoping to compete.

In a statement released on Thursday, the school said: "Contrary to reports in the media, female students at Al-Taqwa College participate in all range of sporting activities such as track and field (including running over a range of distances, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, athletics), basketball, cricket, hockey, tennis and netball.

"Girls are encouraged to participate in all activities, with participation subject to parental consent. We do not believe that running excessively may cause female students to lose their virginity or that sporting injuries could render them infertile."

The teacher said Principal Omar Hallak believed girls could lose their virginity if they run excessively. In the letter, the teacher added that he principal had wider concerns about girls participating in sport, writing:

"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 schools regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, is now investigating the claims, which have been strongly denied by the school.

James Merlino, the deputy premier and education minister, confirmed on Thursday that a written complaint about Mr Hallak had been received and an investigation is underway.

The schools regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, is now investigating the claims, which have been strongly denied by the school.

James Merlino, the deputy premier and education minister, confirmed on Thursday that a written complaint about Mr Hallak had been received and an investigation is underway.

"As a father of two girls and the minister of education, if these claims are true they would be very, very concerning," he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.

"When the bell rings in the morning male and female students must get exactly the same opportunity and access to activities."

The unidentified teacher's letter was followed by a message from concerned students saying it was "unfair" that cross country had been cancelled.

Their handwritten letter, addressed to Principal Hallak, read: "It was really shocking to find out it has been cancelled because of the excuse that girls can't run. Just because we are girls doesn't mean we can't participate in running events. It also doesn't say girls can't run in the hadith. As long as us girls are wearing appropriate clothes we can run.


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