Qatar school principal cleared of racism allegations

Qatar school principal cleared of racism allegations
The principal of a French school in Doha has been cleared by Qatar’s education ministry following allegations that he had made racist and offensive remarks to his students.
2 min read
25 February, 2016
Debaere allegedly made racist remarks to his students [Getty]

Qatar's education ministry has cleared the principal of a French school in Doha following allegations that he made racist remarks to his students.

There is "no semblance of truth" to reports that the principal had made offensive comments about Muslims or Qatari students, the ministry said in a statement following a two-day investigation into the claims, according to Doha News.

The enquiry was launched after a pupil's parent had phoned into a radio talk show and complained about Jean-Pierre Debaere, the principal of the Lycee Franco-Qatarien Voltaire.

"After meeting with the claimant and other parents, it was made clear that most of the racist and offensive remarks that were reported on the radio show were not heard directly by any of the parents, including the claimant, but were recounted to them by others," the statement said.

On air, a mother of a student at the school claimed that she had been told Debaere had gathered together pupils at the school following the recent attacks in Paris and told them "Islam is terrorism".

Debaere told the ministry's investigators that he had intended to refer to armed groups that describe themselves as Muslim, and that he accepted that some students may have misunderstood his comments.

The principal, described in the statement as a former diplomat who has organised many initiatives supporting Islamic culture, has apologised for the confusion.