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Islamic school targeted by online abuse

A Melbourne Islamic school says it has been targeted by online racial abuse after one of its teachers tested positive for COVID-19.

The teacher at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina was diagnosed on Wednesday, and her partner and two relatives have also been infected.

“Their doctors said they did everything right, coming forward and getting tested and isolating so there’s no point in trying to point the fingers here,” the school’s spokesperson Terry Barnes told ABC Radio Melbourne on Friday.

The Islamic Council of Victoria said the college had been “particularly targeted by those spreading misinformation and hate”.

“The Muslim community has suffered from unwarranted criticism and blatant Islamophobia resulting from past COVID outbreaks,” the council said in a statement.

During Victoria’s deadly second wave of the virus in 2020, more than 200 cases were linked to Al-Taqwa College.

With the school once again at the centre of an outbreak, all staff and students have been told to get tested and isolate for 14 days.

A pop-up testing clinic has been set up at the school, and all students aged 16 and older, staff and their families are being offered the Pfizer vaccine on-campus as part of a government pilot program.

Mr Barnes said the college had also received messages of support.

“We’ve got to look after this community, just like we have got to look after all Victorians,” he said.

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