Albanian teacher held for praising Islamic State

TIRANA: (AFP) – A theology teacher in a Koranic school in the northern Albanian town of Shkodra was arrested Thursday for praising the Islamic State group in class, a police spokesman said.

The 39-year-old told her students that “people from the Islamic State are good” as they protect “Muslims in Syria, Palestine or Egypt,” but the Albanian “state wants to fight them,” according to concealed-camera footage.

The students were 16-year olds, said the education ministry, after the comments were broadcast in an investigation by TV Klan channel on Wednesday.

It was unclear when the story was filmed. The school s head told AFP she had been a temporary replacement in 2015 and was no longer a member of staff, adding that the remarks had “nothing to do with the school… program”.

Last November an Israel-Albania football match due to be played in Shkodra was moved after reports that suspected Islamist militants were planning to attack the venue.

Some 100-120 citizens of Albania, a Muslim-majority country, are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and around two dozen Albanian jihadists were still actively fighting there, according to a police source.

Education in Albania is divided into a non-religious public sector and private religious schools, which are under the joint control of religious authorities and the education ministry.