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Tue 9 Aug 2016 12:10 PM

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GEMS Education ‘funding jihad’ accusations a ‘total lie’

Fox Business cites report by Daily Caller website as UAE parents defend GEMS schools

GEMS Education ‘funding jihad’ accusations a ‘total lie’

A Fox News programme has accused Dubai schools network GEMS Education of funding jihad – and UAE residents have come out in defence of the education provider.

Fox Business’ Varney & Co show reported on an investigation by American political website the Daily Caller showing that former US president Bill Clinton was paid more than $5 million in fees by GEMS Education.

The channel’s overseas markets editor Ashley Webster appeared on the show and, citing the Daily Caller report, said: [The organisation] teaches Sharia law, among other things, through a network of more than 100 schools through the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“They adhere strictly to Sharia law. It’s called GEMS Education, and a portion of their tax, which they call religious tax, goes to funding Islamic jihad.”

Fox claimed the views expressed were not its own but that of the Daily Caller.

GEMS Education declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.

Founded by Sunny Varkey, GEMS operates 91 schools worldwide, including 47 in the UAE. They operate an international curriculum, including optional Islamic studies.

Clinton is honorary chairman of a philanthropic foundation set up by Varkey – the Varkey GEMS Foundation – and has spoken several times at GEMS schools in Dubai.

It was reported in 2015 that Clinton had been paid $5.625 million since 2011 by GEMS to lead charity, according to tax returns released in the US.

UAE residents, including teachers and parents at GEMS schools, told The National newspaper that the Daily Caller story was a “total lie”.

“When I read this story I laughed,” said Zeenath Khan, mother of Samara who attends Gems Wellington Academy in Dubai.

“The school is doing nothing wrong. It is ridiculous for someone to pick up on a wild story like this and run with it.

“I question if Fox even understands sharia law. GEMS is teaching Islamic studies, like any other school in the country.

“I’m a Muslim, so I know they are not teaching anything extreme, just the basics of religion to the kids.”

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AAA 3 years ago

I wonder if these reporters from Fox News have ever travelled outside their state, let alone outside the USA

MT3 3 years ago

Where's the lie? GEMS utilises Sharia compliant funding. Fact. GEMS teaches Sharia law to some of its students. Fact. GEMS pays Zakat in KSA. Fact. There are plenty of reputable scholars willing to support the claim that 1/8 Zakat should be donated to fighting Jihad. Fact. Doubt we'll be seeing GEMS fighting this in court.

It's the time-honoured political art of stating facts but not actually telling the truth. Of course, the only reason this is a story is because Hilary is running for the White House and Bill's her Achilles heal. Note that they pull up just short of talking about money going to fund terrorism. They don't have to - simply state a handful of facts in isolation and leave the implication hanging there for the already prejudiced viewers to connect the dots for themselves. It isn't the reporters who are stupid - they've got Rupert Murdoch's legal dept. behind them - but the people who fall for these tactics.

RAK 3 years ago

This is rich, coming from someone who claims to live in the region.
1. Shari'ah compliant funding is debt raised by GEMS. Even the UK has issued sukuks. Hell, if you like in the UAE, odds are that you are using a credit card or banking facilities from Islamic banks
2. Teaching Islamic studies to students of Islamic faith - I doubt the curriculum instills ISIS agenda.
3. All corporates in Saudi have to pay Zakat to the Dept. of Zakat, which is under the govt. This includes American companies operating in KSA - so accuse them too please! FYI this is just like corporate tax

Oh wait....why do I even bother trying to explain it!

Fentoni 3 years ago

Hi AAA, sadly I think it's worse than that. The Fox folks are all too aware of the facts however this isn't the way they want it spun. I believe they're both clever and cynical. Fox news are packaging their product to create the most buzz, impact and viewer figures, the facts are 'flexible' and can be used to accommodate whichever angle the station has chosen.

Tom 3 years ago

MT3, agreed..you've nailed it...

Cantbelieve 3 years ago

MT3, using shariah compliant funding doesn't mean funding terrorism. Fact. Gem teaches Islamic Studies to muslim students only. Fact. Gems pays Zakat and so does other institutions. Fact.

If we go by your understanding which is pretty poor.. then you should blame the taxpayer for any crimes committed by people on welfare....

MT3 3 years ago

Read what I said - the target of my comment is so clearly the right-wing American media and not GEMS that I honestly cannot see how you could have misunderstood. Read what is written not what you want to believe was written - you're as bad as the Fox news viewers lapping this propaganda up.

danoj 3 years ago

I wonder if fox et all would bother to high light the 3 billion tax payers dollars given to Israel each year which is investing it in illegal jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

WHJ 3 years ago

@MT. Try using your football analogy. That might help.

Telcoguy 3 years ago

@Rak you are not "explaining" it you totally misunderstood MT3 post. Please read the second paragraph carefully

@Cantbelieve same. But that is exactly one of the conclusions you can draw from MT3 post, if the above is true then you could blame taxpayers for any wrongdoing from their governments. Operational word here is the "IF" at the beginning

@MT3, you need to type more slowly. And maybe use simpler ideas

In the meantime I will try to explain what MT3 did here. He isolated the facts, the way Fox did, and showed how they are used to lead people to the wrong conclusions. For those too young/too lazy to remember or google, this is similar to how the groundwork for Iraq invasion worked. President George the 3rd never ever claimed that Saddan's Iraq was behind the S11 attacks. There was never an outright lie, just facts picked and chosen and carefully arranged. Plus sympathetic "news" anchors.

I can not believe that the same TV company that brought us The Simpsons brought us this