Police Take Over Hardline Islamic School in Yemen
Yemeni police seized control of a Koranic school in the southern city of Aden Thursday for teaching Islamic extremism, government officials and the school's owners told AFP.
The Al-Baihani Charity group, which ran the Al-Baihani school, condemned the raid as "a terrorist act".
"This terrorist act that frightened the children with military personnel is in conflict with the constitution of this country," the group said in a statement.
"The school is closed till further notice," it added.
Al-Baihani said it would sue the government.
People living near the school said study sessions which started at around five a.m., after morning prayers, had recently taken a much harder line and that the morning exercises were like military training.
Security officials said they suspected the school was being run by fundamentalists. There were no reports of arrests.
"What kind of school endorses the use of violence as a means of correcting sins?" a senior ministry of interior official asked. "We have been monitoring this school for a long time."
Mehdi Abdul-Salam, education director in Aden, said the raid was "100 percent legal".
"The school falls under the governments directive of merging Islamic institutions with mainstream schools," which was announced in May.
It would be turned into a high school under the ministry of education, he added.
Yemen had 400 Koranic schools with a 250,000-strong student body taught theology based on the Koran -- Islam's holy book -- by members of the opposition Al-Islah party, along with other subjects.
The Islamist Al-Islah party slammed the government decision to bring Koranic schools under its control – AFP
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