The chaos that ensues from Salafism—ISIS style Islam based on literal readings of the Koran and life of Muhammad—has infected various schools in Upper Egypt. According to the Justice and Development for Human Rights organization “the thinking of the terrorist group ISIS has taken over the schools of Upper Egypt, especially in the governate of Qena.” The report indicates that some recently hired school principals and administrators are Salafis which has led to chaotic and divisive schools, to the point that “students’ lives are in danger,” especially as the Salafis incite and instigate violence and quarrels between the various families of the region.
The problems trace back to last year, when the principal of one the schools in Qena was pressured to resign, although both teachers and students alike praised his administration and protested against his eventual departure. He was replaced by Ahmed ‘Essam, a Salafi, who proceeded to set the school against itself, with one faction of teachers and students in agreement with his policies, and others against them, with Ahmed showing obvious favoritism to the former. Protests and riots have erupted.
In this context, several young students were severely beat, some with hoses; a fifth grade boy was struck violently on his head and his eye injured. The boy’s father went to the school to confront the principal, who only replied by dismissing the father—he cursed other concerned parents—and proceeded to hit another student, a boy in the first grade, “who wept and was traumatized.”
Salafi Principal Ahmed has also locked the main door of the school and opened a side door which reportedly endangered the lives and health of the students: the side door opens onto a number of undesirable and highly unhygienic elements “that could have led to a disaster,” said the human rights group. Also, since Ahmed became principal, the inside of the school has been left full of trash and completely unsanitary.
Despite the fact that Ahmed has been reported and reprimanded several times for his divisive and draconian behavior, he remains principal.