Parents defend UAE school accused of 'jihad-funding' by Fox

Parents defend UAE school accused of 'jihad-funding' by Fox
UAE residents have defended the Dubai-based GEMS schools' network after Fox Business cited a report claiming the education provider allocated funds to 'support jihad'.
2 min read
09 August, 2016
A Fox Business Network show cited a report claiming GEMS schools 'funded jihad' [Fox Business/Facebook]

Residents of the United Arab Emirates have blasted a report from a American TV network accusing an international network of Dubai-based school of "funding Islamic jihad", The National has reported.

Fox Business Network show cited a report by US political website The Daily Caller claiming that the Dubai-based school network allocated funds to support "Islamic jihad".

"They adhere strictly to Sharia law. It's called the GEMS Education, and a portion of their tax, which they call religious tax, goes to funding Islamic jihad," claimed Ashley Webster, the channel's overseas markets editor, citing a Daily Caller report.

The report - which came as campaigning between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the US picked up pace - also claimed that the education provider had paid former US president Bill Clinton more than $5 million in fees.

"The former president served as honourary chairman for GEMS Education from 2011 to 2014, according to federal tax returns he filed with his wife, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton," the report said.

UAE residents, teachers and parents of students connected with the schools have spoken out against the claims. One parent of a former student described the claims as being a "total lie".

"The school is doing nothing wrong," said Zeenath Khan, whose seven-year-old daughter Samara attends GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai.

"It is ridiculous for someone to pick up on a wild story like this and run with it," she added.

"I question if Fox even understands sharia law. Gems is teaching Islamic Studies, like any other school in the country."

Founded by Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education Group operates 91 schools worldwide, including 47 in the UAE.

The schools offer 250,000 GEMS pupils from more than 150 nationalities studies in French, British, American, Indian, local and International Baccalaureate curricula.

Sharia law is a legal framework that regulates various aspects of life for those living in a legal system based on Islam - much of it revolves around family law and financial matters.

In the UAE, Muslim pupils in private schools must take Islamic Studies but it is optional for non-Muslims.