Police were called to a meeting of parents and delegates of Malek Fahd Islamic School in Sydney on Sunday after tensions boiled over.
A female lawyer was allegedly threatened and intimidated by a number of the opposing faction, one of whom leaned within about 1cm of her face.
In another incident, burly “security people” stopped only delegates on the side of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) board.
At the heated meeting – held inside the conference hall of the Mercure Hotel – AFIC delegates accused each other of perpetrating the financial mismanagement that led to the Federal Government’s decision to cut $19m of taxpayer funding to the school.
A nine-month investigation by the NSW Education Department
found that the school had been operating for profit and had ongoing governance concerns. The enrolments of more than 2,500 students and the jobs of more than 300 staff are now in doubt.
The lawyer for AFIC, Ricky Mitry, told The Educator
that he was concerned by some of the behaviour at the meeting.
“It is flabbergasting that such skirmishes could be allowed to occur in this crucial time in which an application has been made for an internal review,” Mitry said.
At the centre of the feud are AFIC’s current president, Hafez Kassem, and the president of Muslims NSW, Amjad Mehboob.
Both Kassem and Mehboob have passed motions of no confidence in the other over allegations of mismanagement, and both have declared the other to be invalid.
The dispute is currently being heard in the NSW Supreme Court.