In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Australian Islamic peak body questioned over relationship with leading Islamic school

by Leo Shanahan
Source: The Australian

Filed under: Australia,Featured,News |

The nation’s peak Muslim body is extracting millions of dollars in rent and fees from a successful Islamic school in Sydney that draws most of its funding from taxpayers.

Documents reveal the Malek Fahd Islamic School paid the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils $5.2 million last year alone, an amount equal to one-third of the school’s educational funding from the federal and state governments.

An investigation by The Australian has uncovered millions of dollars in funds charged to the school, including unexplained “management fees”.

The school has also been charged $2.59m in back rent after AFIC retrospectively altered a lease agreement in 2009

Last year, it paid $3.15m in “management fees” to AFIC, which included $2.2m in “management fees back charge”.

AFIC, also known as Muslims Australia, has not explained how the fees are being spent by the organisation, despite detailed questions from The Australian.

Malek Fahd, in Greenacre in Sydney’s west, received $15.7m in educational funding from the commonwealth and NSW governments last year, accounting for 74 per cent of its overall income.

According to the school’s financial statement, it received a total of $19.6m in government funding last year, with the figure boosted by cash from the federal government’s Building the Education Revolution program.

The school of about 2000 students is widely considered a success story for Islamic education in Australia, rating 15th in NSW HSC system ratings last year and in the top 10 in 2007.

The school is listed as independent and is a separate legal entity from its landowner and founder AFIC. Government funds are given directly to the school, not to AFIC.

Both are not-for-profit organisations, with the school entitled to a range of tax concessions as a charitable institution.

In 2008, a lease was signed between the school and AFIC that set annual rent for the Greenacre property at $1.3m, but documents reveal that in 2009 the lease was changed to increase the rent to $1.5m a year. The agreement was backdated to January 2004, resulting in a one-off payment of $2.59m going to AFIC.

According to the school’s last financial report, another deal saw the school hand over a lump sum of $2.2m in backdated management fees to AFIC, with another $959,800 handed over for management costs in that year.

Neither the school nor AFIC can explain what the management fees are charged for.

AFIC president Ikebal Patel, who has held the role since 2007, is also the chairman of directors of the school. He was briefly removed from the position of AFIC president by the AFIC congress in 2008, but was reinstated after a complex federal court challenge to the legitimacy of the vote.

When asked by The Australian how he explained the fees being charged to the school and where and how AFIC was spending the funds, Mr Patel said: “The financial statement is out there. If you want to discuss anything else I’m happy, but I’m not going to discuss any of this.”

Mr Patel has not replied to questions in writing about how the large fees were justified or where the money was being spent.

Mr Patel would also not answer questions as to how much he or other members of the AFIC executive were personally drawing in income or any other payment from AFIC funds.

Intaj Ali, the school’s principal, told The Australian that “all questions about the school’s finances should be directed to the school’s director, Ikebal Patel”.

However, it is understood that Dr Ali – a respected educator who has been principal since the school’s inception in 1990 – is privately furious over the manner in which AFIC has been using the school’s funds.

Senior figures at the school and in the Islamic community are angry the school is being denied its funds to reinvest into the school, which has large classes and generally caters to students of non-English speaking backgrounds and of lower socioeconomic groups. The school receives proportionately larger government funding for this reason.

The Greenacre school site was purchased by AFIC in 1989 for about $2.2m with funds from the Saudi royal family. The school, which charges fees of about $1200 a year, has been responsible for funding the construction of its own buildings.

Along with Mr Patel as chairman of directors of the Malek Fahd, the school’s board also has several other AFIC executives. These include AFIC vice-president Hafez Kassem, treasurer Mohamed Masood and assistant AFIC treasurer Ashraf Usman Ali.

Neither the commonwealth nor the NSW education department has provided comment on the matter, but The Australian understands the school’s funding issue has been brought to the attention of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s office.

21 comments
disgusted
disgusted

What do some of the Catholic Schools or Jewish Schools pay the Government as there is never any opposition to what they buy or want to build. $53 million paid for an office tower at North Sydney for the Catholic University and management no doubt will sit in the top floors. No complaints whatsoever.

Safiz Ali
Safiz Ali

Green Valley Islamic College -GVIC in Sydney is running the same business model as Malek Fahd Islamic School. This school is owned by Muslim League of NSW which charges HUGE amount of rent from GVIC. The school's directors are also the directors of the school's landlord. Clear and unacceptable conflict of interest. There are unexplained financial irregularities involving millions of dollars. One good example of Muslim League of NSW and GVIC stealing & abusing Australian tax payers money is, they sponsor foreign imams (priest) on work visa to come here and teach at GVIC for 37-40 hrs per week. But when the imam lands in Australia, Muslim League of NSW gets them to not teach at GVIC but to lead prayers in the mosque and work 10 - 15 hrs per week which breaches the Australian Immigration work visa requirements. We Australian tax payers are paying for these imams to lead prayers in the Australian mosque. Hows that for Muslim League of NSW and GVIC stealing from Australian people. These thieves should be exposed to the Australian public and brought to justice. http://www.mlnsw.com and http://www.gvic.com.au

i want real halal.
i want real halal.

Im fed up with the all the so called halal certificates they hand out, when a lot of the companies that carry this certificate are clearly not halal.

Ramadan Kareem
Ramadan Kareem

There are some 40 Islamic schools in Australia. AFIC operates only 8. Who operates the other 30 or so schools. Are they community based. AFIC certainly lost one of its schools to the people who were appointed to manage it. We hear a lot about AFIC in the media - because its affairs are open and transparent, If Ikebal Patel is doing something wrong then this must and will come out into the open. But what do we know about the other Islamic schools and who owns and controls them.

happymuslim
happymuslim

Admi....I can agree with what you say if it were an Islam driven school, but experience tells us unfortunately, these schools are NOT there for the sake of Allah, they are just schools for muslim kids with a bit of Islam thrown in to entice.

markjuliansmith
markjuliansmith

It is important if we in Australia and elsewhere do not want a violent schism in society and have women treated as second class citizens and publically demonstrate their subservience to Man we have to break down the ‘cone of silence’ and institutional madness enabling Sharia law to be promoted as a dual legal entity within society.

Also the mechanism by which money is being funneled into religious organizations which are supposed to be utilized for education has to be stopped. Public money should not be utilized for the advancement for any religion and laws and the constitution must be changed to make sure this cannot occur. Using schools as fronts has to cease.

TO THE HONOURABLE THE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

This petition of date:_________________________…(Total number of signatures __)

draws to the attention of the House:

Foundation Text=Ethics=Ideas=Motivation=Action For and Against Other

Foundation Text regards Other: Hitler MEIN KAMPF=Mohammed QURAN

Genocidal Outcomes:

Kristallnacht
Ninety-one Jews were killed etc

The 2002 Indonesian Island of Bali bombings killing 202 people etc
USCIRF Annual Report 2011 - The Commission's Watch List: Indonesia

"Decision theorists and cognitive scientists have recorded instances where individuals refuse to change their mental models even in the face of irrefutable evidence, because of the institutional support their unsatisfactory mental models get from peers and society at large." Sustainability Networks Janne Hukkinen, 2008, Routledge New York.

“Most Indonesians subscribe to a moderate form of Islam, but more conservative strains have grown in popularity in recent years. The government of President Yudhoyono has come under sustained pressure from conservative Islamists to outlaw the Ahmadiyya sect; a compromise law enacted in 2008 forbade the sect from proselytizing.” Rights Advocates Criticize Light Sentences in Sectarian Killings in Indonesia, New York Times, By AUBREY BELFORD July 28, 2011

I therefore ask the House to:

Incorporate into the Australian Constitution protection for Other, particularly children and women from discrimination, pain and humiliation for simply being Other.

PRINCIPAL PETITIONER
Name:_________________________________________Signature:__________________________
Address:_________________________________________________________Postcode:________
Email (if available):________________________________________________________________
Telephone:_____________________

soapbox
soapbox

Let us see what happens. SMH reported that the premier had been made aware but comment was refused. I suspect labor might try sweep this under the carpet afterall Muslims are voters too.............. seriously though let's see what happens.

abc
abc

AFIC run by an ethnic group that supports themselves and only those who support them. Most likely, they also contract their jobs to family members and their own circle of friends too.

they do not represent all Muslim australians but they do financially support each others pockets

Admi
Admi

This article does not serve the Islamic intrests and shows only one side of the coin.

Bani Aadam
Bani Aadam

For now Im taking these revelations with a grain of salt - for obvious reasons: The Australian is reporting this. But years ago when I was reading into the executive structure of AFIC and Malek Fahd, I did notice a majority at the top were from a particular ethnic group. I shook my head and thought nepotism (that is: looking after one's own) was certainly at play here.

Pietre
Pietre

Surely using government educational funding to pay "management fees" of AFIC is illegal!? What is going on here? I still remember a few years back when people were saying the salary of the school's sheikh was taken from the interest borne out of a term deposit...? Dodgy stuff...

Ahmed_Kilani
Ahmed_Kilani

Salaam Amjad

We have requested from AFIC to be sent a copy of their press release refuting the article in plain text, PDF or word document format so that we can publish it on MuslimVillage.com. Still waiting to receive this.
W'Salaam & Eid Mubarak
Ahmed Kilani

Samiyah
Samiyah

I agree..it all boils down to MONEY...the root to all evil!

soapbox
soapbox

oopsy I meant the Libs not labour

Eid Mubarak 2014 SMS
Eid Mubarak 2014 SMS

@Admi yes this article only sharing bad things about them, please share something with evidence.

Ramadan Kareem
Ramadan Kareem

How does your comment help the Muslim community. Why don't you see AFIC President and raise these questions directly.

glenn
glenn

are there any newspapers in Australia that you don't feel victimises muslims?? I would have thought that the telegraph is right wing and so anti muslim, the sydney morning hearld is left wing, so is pro muslims, but i thought The Australian was fairly independent. Anyway, i suppose you have your reasons for not trusting the media, i don't trust Al Jazeera.

Ramadan Kareem
Ramadan Kareem

If you know any detail or have any evidence of the allegations made in the media then please bring it up otherwise please do not add to innuendos causing disunity.

abc
abc

hahahaha Ramadan Kareem is actually Amjad Mehboob? well, why does he need to hide behind a fake name?

subhanallah

Eid Mubarak SMS
Eid Mubarak SMS

@Ramadan Kareem I am fully support your words, one should not say any wrong words about any community or religion.

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