Stop the Madrassa Press Release- “Open Letter from Educators”

Former SDS, Communist Party, and Weather Underground Extremists Defame Critics of Khalil Gibran Academy;
They Join Prior Supporters, Such as Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Rabbi Michael Paley, in Support of Almontaser & KGIA

New York, New York April 4, 2008 . Once again, radical Islamist groups and their enablers are attempting to silence American citizens through boycotts, name-calling, threats of lawsuits, defamatory accusations and other forms of intimidation.


This time,
as the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) finds itself under new fire from angry parents in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn who feel KGIA is being imposed on their elementary school, hard Leftist KGIA supporters are attempting to bolster the failing “multi-cultural” experiment by defaming their critics. In a letter this week to Mayor Bloomberg, KGIA supporters label those who have questioned the creation, purpose, affiliates, management, and other issues regarding the Arabic school “a small group of fear-mongering bigots.”

Among those who signed the letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein were a number of well- known former leaders of extremist Leftist organizations. For example, as reported by the open source Wikipedia, William Ayers, who is now at the
University of Illinois at Chicago, reportedly was “a Weather Underground member…. he became radicalized at the University of Michigan. During his years there, he became involved in the New Left and the SDS. Ayers went underground with several comrades after their co-conspirators’ bomb accidentally exploded on March 6, 1970, destroying a Greenwich Village townhouse and killing three members of the Weather Underground…. They avoided the police and FBI while bombing high-profile government buildings—including the United States Capitol (two bombs on March 1, 1970), The Pentagon (May 19, 1972), and the Harry S Truman Building which houses the United States Department of State (on January 29, 1975)—along with several banks, police department headquarters and precincts, state and federal courthouses, and state prison administrative offices. Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn raised two children, Zayd and Malik, underground before turning themselves in in 1981, when most charges were dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct during the long search for the fugitives…. Ayers published his memoirs in 2001 with the book Fugitive Days. His interview with the New York Times to promote his book was published on September 11, 200…. In this interview, he… was quoted as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”…. In the fall of 2006, Ayers was asked not to attend a progressive educators’ conference on the basis that the organizers did not want to risk an association of their movement with his violent past. ”

Another of those defaming critics of KGIA is Michael Klonsky, of the Small Schools Workshop who, again according to the open source Wikipedia, “…helped organize the first chapter of Students for a Democratic Society in the area. He became active in national SDS early in 1967…. During his community organizing, Klonsky began developing a proto-Marxist ideology which emphasized community and worker organizing…. In late 1969, Klonsky founded the October League, a communist party which in 1977 became the Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist. He was elected the party’s chairman…. Klonsky made several trips to China beginning in July 1977, where he was warmly received by government and Communist Party of China officials and treated to state dinners… “
Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition (STM) has filed Freedom of Information Law requests to obtain complete information concerning textbooks, lesson plans and design documents to be used at KGIA. Because the DOE did not comply STM was forced to file an Article 78 petition in Manhattan Supreme Court. Not surprisingly the documents turned over pursuant to the FOIL requests substantiated STM concerns. To date the school does not have proper textbooks, curricla, or lesson plans for teaching middle and high school Arabic language and culture. What was discovered from FOIL requests is that KGIA was poorly designed and poorly thought-out. In recent months STM has stepped up its calls for immediate closure of KGIA, and expanded its fight nationwide to halt the imposition of radical Islamist agendas in curricula, Arab language programs, history classes, textbooks, teacher training, and charter schools. STM does not oppose the teaching of Arabic language or Arabic culture in a balanced public school curriculum offering several languages and covering all cultures.

We will not be silenced and we stand in solidarity with others who have been defamed or targeted for exposing the dangers of Islamo-fasxism and jihadism.


# # #

Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition is a grassroots organization working to
help parents and teachers investigate, expose and eliminate Islamist and other ideological influence on textbooks, curricula and courses. . For more information please visit www.stopthemadrassa.wordpress.org..

###

Text of Open Letter from Educators in Support of the Khalil Gibran International Academy and Principal Debbie Almontaser to:

Michael Bloomberg Joel Klein
Mayor of New York City Chancellor of New York City Department of Education
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein,
In 2007 the New York City Public Schools approved the establishment of the first-ever NY public school focusing on Arabic language and culture. This new small dual-language school, Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), addressed a need and dream of many in New York’s Arab communities. Leading the campaign for this specialty academy was Debbie Almontaser, a respected educator and community leader, who was selected to become the school’s founding principal.
Before the school ever opened its doors, Almontaser was forced to resign. When Debbie Almontaser was forced out as principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a blow was struck against the rights and academic freedom of educators everywhere. Principal Almontaser was the guiding light and the pioneer behind the founding of the new school, which was envisioned as part of a vibrant small-schools movement fostering personalization, autonomy, and the empowerment of teachers.
A campaign of lies, racial fear, and anti-Arab prejudice, emanating from a conservative media group including the New York Post and supported by Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, forced Almontaser from her post. Prior to and during the first semester of the school’s existence, Almontaser was replaced by two principals, neither of whom possesses her exceptional academic qualifications, her leadership capabilities, her relationship with the school community, nor her knowledge of Arabic language and culture.
KGIA was attacked by a small group of fear-mongering bigots. It was labeled a “terrorist school” and a “madrassa.” But this campaign of slander has been met by a broad coalition supporting the school and its intended principal, including leading organizations spanning the many diverse communities in New York. This coalition is pursuing every channel to restore Almontaser to her rightful position and to clear her name and her reputation.
Debbie Almontaser did nothing wrong. She committed no crime. She violated no rules nor any terms of her contract. She was forced to resign after doing nothing more than answering a reporter’s question about the root meaning of the word “intifada.”
For those of us working in the field of education, the treatment of Debbie Almontaser represents a threat not only to our rights as educators and citizens in a democratic society; it is also an attack on the small-schools movement and on the push for diversity and equity within our system of public education. Will bigotry be allowed to decide which public schools can exist and who can lead them?
We the undersigned insist that Debbie Almontaser be returned to her post as founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.
Bernadette Anand, Bank Street Graduate School of Education
Gary Anderson, Steinhardt School of Education, N.Y.U.
Rick Ayers, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education
William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago
Carmen Colon, Association of NYC’s Educated Communities
Kathleen Cushman, Education Writer
Lisa Delpit, Center for Urban Education and Innovation, F.I.U.
Michelle Fine, The Graduate Center – City University of New York
Ofelia Garcia, Teachers College, Columbia University
Maxine Greene, Teachers College, Columbia University
Kris D. Gutierrez, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA
Paula Hajar, Bronx Charter School for Better Learning
Annette Henry, Education Program, University of Washington, Tacoma
Jay P. Heubert, Teachers College, Columbia University
Mike Klonsky, Small Schools Workshop
Susan Klonsky, Small Schools Workshop
Kevin Kumashiro, University of Illinois at Chicago
Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carol Lee, Northwestern University
Sally Lee, Teachers Unite
Linda Levine, Bank Street Graduate School of Education
Tara Mack, Education for Liberation Network
Edwin Mayorga, New York Collective of Radical Educators
Deborah W. Meier, Steinhardt School of Education, N.Y.U.
Jon Moscow, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
Arwa Nasser, United Nations International School
Donna Nevel, Center for Immigrant Families
Pedro A. Noguera, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, N.Y.U.
Gary Orfield, Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, UCLA
Granville Leo Stevens, Independent Parents Organizations
*affiliations listed for identification purposes

KGIA: NY PUBLIC SCHOOL Madrassah is Moved for 3RD Time

Reprinted from Atlasshrugs- 
Like pitbulls seized on an unwitting victim the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), New York’s Public Arabic school, is refusing to release an innocent parent student body from its chokehold. The currently failing school is moving to a top performing school in the Fort Green section. And the parents are not happy about it.
Mark Steyn understands the implications. Mark Steyn said this  of the Arabic public school opening in NY on my show a few months back;
” it shows how we mischaracterized, we willfully misunderstand Islam. Yes, on the face of it yes Arabic is a language in a sense there is would be no difference between opening a foreign language school – a Spanish language school or a french language school – but in fact Arabic is more than a language. It is explicated the language of Islam so in that sense it is part of the Islamic religious imperial project. Radical Islam advances through the Arabic language. And you go all kinds of places that aren’t in the Arab world now like Pakistan, Indonesia, Central Asia, the Balk ins, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada and the United States and you will here those Imams preaching in Arabic. Arabic is not just another language like French or Italian, it is the spearhead of an idea logical project that is deeply opposed to the United States
We need a specific amendment declaring seperation of Mosque and state becuase whatever we got now ain’t working.
But Some Parents at P.S. 287 Object To Sharing Space
by Mary Frost
FORT GREENE — The Department of Education has confirmed that the Arabic-themed Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) will be moving from Boerum Hill to a building occupied by P.S. 287, at 50 Navy St., near the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

Parents also say that there are space issues at the school.

But parents at P.S. 287, who were told about the move at an “emergency” meeting Wednesday evening, say they are outraged.
“They ambushed us,” said Matrice Sherman, mother of two students at P.S. 287. “Garth Harries [DOE’s Chief Portfolio Officer], when he met with us last time, said there would be a dialog, and that they would hear our concerns.
“Who did he speak to? Not to the people at this school.”  Read more…

Almontaser Will Never be KGIA’s Principal But Who is Teaching These Children?

Today the  federal appeals court stated Dhabah “Debby” Almontaser cannot force New York City to give her another opportunity  to reapply as Principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed  that Almontaser was acting in her official capacity as interim principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy when she defined “Intifada” as a “shaking off” to the NY Post.  The NYC Intifada T-shirt was produced and distributed by AWAAM, a group closely affiliated with Almontaser.  They are the lead organization supporting her reinstatement.

 Almontaser’s connection to the AWAAM group is not tenuous; she is both a founder and board member of the Yemeni American Association (SABA – YAA), and the AWAAM website (before it was quickly revised after the t-shirt exposé) directed “Contact Us” information to the YAA. The AAFSC, primary sponsors of KGIA, also sponsored the event where the t-shirts were sold. Her own words defending the “Intifada NYC” slogan were the greatest evidence against her being in charge of any institution, as quoted in the New York Post :

“The word [intifada] basically means ’shaking off.’ That is the root word if you look it up in Arabic,” she said.

“I understand it is developing a negative connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas. I don’t believe the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City.

“I think it’s pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression.”

Almontaser’s inability to define the Intifada for what it is- a murderous campaign to kill and maim  Israeli citizens – is understandable in light of her political viewpoints.  She opposes the War on Terror and she blames the US for the 9-11 attacks as described in her interview in 2002 to Amnesty International’s Norwegian office  shortly after 9-11.  She supports numerous radical organizations, including the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Public Schools are not the venue for the furthering of Islamic ideology.  Youssef M. Ibrahim’s article, “The Islamist Trojan Horse is Already in Place” explains,  “Seemingly separate but unquestionably part of the same process of spreading militancy among immigrant Arab communities was the Debbie Almontaser episode of the Khalil Gibran School saga, in which what she saw as a benign use of the word “intifada” led to her being forced to quit as the school’s principal. Neither Ms. Almontaser’s project nor her unstated intention to create a Muslim school in Brooklyn under the guise of multiculturalism took place in a void. The common task among all these organizations and individuals is to instill the notion there are no Arab-Americans, only Muslim Americans.

What follows next, of course, is the “community’s” eventual embrace of jihad against the values and policies of the majority infidel. This is what has taken place in Britain among native British subjects of Muslim origin.” [http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0907/ibrahim092507.php3 ]  

It is unfortunate that the NYC Department of Education did not investigate Almontaser and the Islamic partnering organizations she brought into the school before announcing its opening.  Stop the Madrassa understood the agenda and was forced to do what the DOE would not;  investigate, educate, and attempt to protect NYC school children from an Islamic political agenda.  Almontaser is gone but the infrastructure she built is still in place.  What exactly are these children exposed to, and given the individuals and partnering organizations involved, what perspective on the Middle East and America is being taught?  We will continue to keep the public informed.  Hopefully the NYCDOE will begin to do their part.

Islamic Public Charter School In Minnesota Supported by the Muslim American Society

Islam is thriving in a Minnesota public school.  Islamic Relief sponsors a public charter school, that is in reality a madrassa, paid for by taxpayers in Minnesota.   The parent organization Islamic Relief Worldwide is  known to “provide support and assistance” to the murderous Hamas terrorist organization. The  U.S. government designates Hamas as a terrorist group. The Muslim American Society of Minnesota openly admits it’s running a public charter school.  As you read the article below, published in the Minnesota Star Tribune, “MAS-MN offers on its web site “beneficial and enlightening information” about Islam, which includes statements like “Regularly make the intention to go on jihad with the ambition to die as a martyr.”

It is outrageous that we allow any school to establish Islam in an American public school.   Minnesotans contact Stop the Madrassa.  We can help you. 

Are taxpayers footing bill for Islamic school in Minnesota?

Last update: March 9, 2008 – 8:03 AM

Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) — named for the Muslim general who conquered medieval Spain — is a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights. Its approximately 300 students are mostly the children of low-income Muslim immigrant families, many of them Somalis.

The school is in huge demand, with a waiting list of 1,500. Last fall, it opened a second campus in Blaine.

TIZA uses the language of culture rather than religion to describe its program in public documents. According to its mission statement, the school “recognizes and appreciates the traditions, histories, civilizations and accomplishments of the eastern world (Africa, Asia and Middle East).”

But the line between religion and culture is often blurry. There are strong indications that religion plays a central role at TIZA, which is a public school financed by Minnesota taxpayers. Under the U.S. and state constitutions, a public school can accommodate students’ religious beliefs but cannot encourage or endorse religion.

TIZA raises troubling issues about taxpayer funding of schools that cross that line.

Asad Zaman, TIZA’s principal, declined to allow me to visit the school or grant me an interview. He did not respond to e-mails seeking written replies.

TIZA’s strong religious connections date from its founding in 2003. Its co-founders, Zaman and Hesham Hussein, were both imams, or Muslim religious leaders, as well as leaders of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MAS-MN).

Since then, they have played dual roles: Zaman as TIZA’s principal and the current vice-president of MAS-MN, and Hussein as TIZA’s school board chair and president of MAS-MN until his death in a car accident in Saudi Arabia in January.

TIZA shares MAS-MN’s headquarters building, along with a mosque.

MAS-MN came to Minnesotans’ attention in 2006, when it issued a “fatwa,” warning Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that transporting passengers with alcohol in their baggage is a violation of Islamic law.

Journalists whom Zaman has permitted to visit TIZA have described the school’s Islamic atmosphere and practices.

“A visitor might well mistake Tarek ibn Ziyad for an Islamic school,” reported Minnesota Monthly in 2007. “Head scarves are voluntary, but virtually all the girls wear them.” The school has a central carpeted prayer space, and “vaguely religious-sounding language” is used.

According to the Pioneer Press, TIZA’s student body prays daily and the school’s cafeteria serves halal food (permissible under Islamic law). During Ramadan, all students fast from dawn to dusk, according to a parent quoted in the article.

In fact, TIZA was originally envisioned as a private Islamic school. In 2001, MAS-MN negotiated to buy the current TIZA/MAS-MN building for Al-Amal School, a private religious institution in Fridley, according to Bruce Rimstad of the Inver Grove Heights School District. But many immigrant families can’t afford Al-Amal. In 2002, Islamic Relief — headquartered in California — agreed to sponsor a publicly funded charter school, TIZA, at the same location.

TIZA claims to be non-sectarian, as Minnesota law requires charters to be. But “after-school Islamic learning” takes place on weekdays in the same building under MAS-MN’s auspices, according to the program for MAS-MN’s 2007 convention. At that convention, a TIZA representative at the school’s booth told me that students go directly to “Islamic studies” classes at 3:30, when TIZA’s day ends. There, they learn “Qur’anic recitation, the Sunnah of the Prophet” and other religious subjects, he said.

TIZA’s 2006 Contract Performance Review Report states that students engage in unspecified “electives” after school or do homework.

Publicly, TIZA emphasizes that it uses standard curricular materials like those found in other public schools. But when addressing Muslim audiences, school officials make the link to Islam clear. At MAS-MN’s 2007 convention, for example, the program featured an advertisement for the “Muslim American Society of Minnesota,” superimposed on a picture of a mosque. Under the motto “Establishing Islam in Minnesota,” it asked: “Did you know that MAS-MN … houses a full-time elementary school”? On the adjacent page was an application for TIZA.In addition to the issues raised by TIZA’s religious elements, there are reasons to be concerned about the organizations with which it is connected.

Group linked to Hamas

Islamic Relief-USA, the school’s sponsor, is compared to the Red Cross in several TIZA documents. In 2006, however, the Israeli government announced that Islamic Relief Worldwide, the organization’s parent group, “provides support and assistance” to Hamas, designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist group.

Meanwhile, MAS-MN offers on its web site “beneficial and enlightening information” about Islam, which includes statements like “Regularly make the intention to go on jihad with the ambition to die as a martyr.”

At its 2007 convention, MAS-MN featured the notorious Shayk Khalid Yasin, who is well-known in Britain and Australia for teaching that husbands can beat disobedient wives, that gays should be executed and that the United States spreads the AIDS virus in Africa through vaccines for tropical diseases.

Yasin’s topic? “Building a Successful Muslim Community in Minnesota.”

TIZA has improved the reading and math performance of its mostly low-income students. That’s commendable, but should Minnesota taxpayers be funding an Islamic public school? [http://www.startribune.com/16404541.html?location_refer=Bios]

Katherine Kersten • kkersten@startribune.com Join the conversation at my blog, Think Again, which can be found at www.startribune.com/thinkagain.

     

New York City Parents On Collision Course Again With Dept. Of Education Over Khalil Gibran International Academy Move

New York City Parents On Collision Course Again With Dept. Of Education Over Khalil Gibran International Academy Move

By Sara Springer, special to PipeLineNews.org

February 29, 2008 – Brooklyn, NY – PipeLineNews.org – This week the NYC Department of Education informed the Khalil Gibran International Academy’s PTA that the school would be relocated for the September 2008 school year. Yet with all the planning, the intended target for KGIA, PS 287 in Fort Green, doesn’t have the required space and the proposed move is running into a firestorm of resistance from parents who feel their school is an inappropriate choice for the controversial Arabic school which has been called a madrassah.

In an effort to quell the growing dissent, on the evening of February 27, Garth Harries, DOE Officer of Portfolio Development, came to PS 287 where he faced an angry gathering of parents, outraged that their school had been chosen with little consultation.

As has been the case since the inception of KGIA, the DOE has been a model of non-transparency. That stonewalling continues, for example on February 4, the PTA requested a copy of KGIA’s curriculum, yet nearly a month later nothing has been forwarded.

A parent from the school told this reporter that she attempted to visit KGIA today, stating she “was poorly received,” and had not been allowed to enter. At the meeting she rose, chiding Harries, “The school is so secretive, how can you ask us to have a school here if we don’t know what’s going on?”

Indicative of the bad blood between parents and the DOE, another demanded, “How can we trust you when you lied to us about the high school [The School for Law and Justice] being here for one year?” This in reference to a promise by DOE that the high school [now in its fourth year] was to be moved after the first school year.

With the prospect of normalcy returning to PS 287 now dashed by the announcement of the KGIA move, parents and school officials fear that enrollment will decrease further because of the negative publicity surrounding KGIA. If the move goes forward, once again pre-k, kindergarten, and elementary age children will be forced to mix with high school students. This is a potentially unhealthy situation which caused one parent to state, “It’s not safe to be with high school kids. They’re out of control. We can’t bring kids into the playground.”

The President of another school’s PTA acknowledged the problem, of co-mingling children of such diverse ages, observing, “Older kids beat up younger kids.” Harries shrugged the objection off, noting that that this is happening all around the city.

Despite statements to the contrary made by his aides, Harries told the gathering that the decision to move wasn’t final, thus contradicting a statement by DOE representative, Gabrielle Ferghetti, who earlier had stated that the move is a “done deal.” As the PTA president explained, “She came to let us know. She didn’t answer my questions. It was a courtesy call.” Harries apologized, responding, “That young lady works for me. That’s not what she told me she said.”

The question of veracity always looms when dealing with the DOE and KGIA; are they capable of telling the truth?

Another perspective was expressed by a parent who noted the frustration of many as she accused Haries and the DOE of favoritism, “Are you here to help all schools or are you here to focus on a particular race, religion, and community? You’re focused on the success of KGIA. You are not concerned with the success of our school.”

One got the impression that the opposition within PS 287 against KGIA’s intrusion is rising, led by a savvy and knowledgeable group of parents who let the DOE know that their community school and children would no longer be made a pawn in Chancellor Klein’s divisive policy of forced multiculturalism.

As the evening concluded a defiant spirit was in the air, with one parent challenging Harries, “Tell Chancellor Klein, don’t send messages through you. He’s not doing us a favor [by sending you]. Go back and tell the Chancellor the answer is no, no, no. We want him here and we want Mayor Bloomberg here. Tell the Chancellor you don’t mix Church and State.” Another parent added, “We as parents have the right to have what we want for our children. They can only take what we allow them to take.”

©1999-2008 Sara Springer, PipeLineNews.org LLC, all rights reserved. 

[http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=kgia2.29.08%2Ehtm]

 

 
 
 

P.S. 287 Parents Say No, No, No to KGIA

Last night the NYC Department of Education told Khalil Gibran International Academy’s PTA that their school was being relocated for the September 2008 school year.  After all the planning, the DOE has chosen a school that didn’t have the required space. 

Concerned NYC parents are once again confronted with the controversial KGIA affecting their children and school environment. Tonight Garth Harries, Officer of Portfolio Development, came to P.S. 287 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to face an angry gathering of parents.  Their school has been chosen as KGIA’s new location.   

Precedents of DOE stonewalling and lack of transparency continue. 

On February 4th,

the PTA requested a copy of KGIA’s curriculum. 

Nothing has been forwarded. 

 A mother said she visited KGIA today.  A secretary came out and she “was poorly received”. She was not allowed in.  She asked Harries, “The school is so secretive, how can you ask us to have a school here if we don’t know what’s going on?”   

Another parent wanted to know, “How can we trust you when you lied to us about the high school (The School for Law and Justice) being here for one year?” Originally the high school was suppose to move after one year.  As is common DOE practice, parents are told this when in reality many years go by before a school is relocated.  The high school is leaving P.S. 287 after a four year stay.  Parents have been looking forward to next year when they would finally get their school back and reinstate programs lost when the high school moved in.  A parent noted that a high school is leaving the building and a middle and high school are entering.   

KGIA is moving in because the DOE says the building is under utilized.  However, parents maintain that the school lost enrollment when parents pulled their children out because older children were in the building.  Fears are high that enrollment will decrease should KGIA and its negative publicity move into their elementary school.  

Once again they are facing the problem of having teenagers mingle with pre-k, kindergarten, and elementary age school children.  One parent said, “It’s not safe to be with high school kids.  They’re out of control.  We can’t bring kids into the playground.”  A PTA President of another school described the dangerous practice of the DOE bringing middle and high school students into elementary schools. “Older kids beat up younger kids.”  Garth Harries’ answer was that this practice is happening all around the city. 

Harries was corrected by a parent when he told the gathering that the decision wasn’t final.  At a school leadership meeting three weeks ago DOE representative, Gabrielle Ferghetti, clearly stated to all that the move is a done deal. The PTA President explained, “She came to let us know.  She didn’t answer my questions.  It was a courtesy call.”   Harries apologized, responding, “That young lady works for me.  That’s not what she told me she said.”  The question with the DOE always remains, “Who is telling the truth?” 

After Harries repeatedly sang the praises of KGIA and justified its agenda several times, a mother expressed the frustration of many when she said, “Are you here to help all schools or are you here to focus on a particular race, religion, and community?  You’re focused on the success of KGIA.  You are not concerned with the success of our school.” 

A very savvy and knowledgeable group of parents gathered tonight to let the NYCDOE know that their community school and children would no longer be taken advantage of.  A hard-working community, many of whom are single-mothers, will not let the fact that the DOE thinks they are too busy and exhausted with earning a living to care about what’s happening with their children.  This group of parents will do whatever it takes.  As one parent said, “Tell Chancellor Klein, don’t send messages through you.  He’s not doing us a favor [by sending you].  Go back and tell the Chancellor the answer is no, no, no.  We want him here and we want Mayor Bloomberg here. Tell the Chancellor you don’t mix Church and State.”  Another parent added, “We as parents have the right to have what we want for our children.  They can only take what we allow them to take.” 

History Alive! The Medieval World

Reader comment on blog entry: “History Alive!,” Scottsdale Schools, and a Reader’s Comment at www.danielpipes.org

Submitted by Concerned Parent (United States), Feb 16, 2008 at 09:58Earlier this month I filed a formal challenge to the History Alive! The Medieval World textbook used at White Hill Middle School in Marin County, California. Although there are several reasons, my primary concern is that curriculum material is presented via the HAMW text (and accompanying Interactive Student Notebook) in an overtly religious manner that not only is inappropriate for a public school, but does not comport with actual state standards for seventh grade history relative to study of the civilizations of Islam.Recently, I came across an article I forwarded to the school district regarding “Dawa” in public schools. In case you are not familiar with the term, Dawa means, “to invite non-Muslims to accept the truth of Islam”:

Click here: DawaNet—to link • to serve: Dawa in public schools:

“The Bottom Line. We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam with Allah’s guidance, Insha Allah (if God wills).”

Apparently some of the staff at the school are under the impression that I do not want my own child learning about different cultures or religions. Nothing could be further than the truth. However, while I believe that everyone should have the right to practice (or not) their religion freely and without persecution, I also believe it is unacceptable for children to be exposed to religious proselytizing at school. Our children should not only not be “influenced” — wittingly or not — to accept Islam (or any other religion), they should be protected from such “influence” in our public schools.

Concerned Parent


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Comments are screened for relevance, substance, and tone, and in some cases edited, before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome, but not hostile, libelous, or otherwise objectionable statements. Original writing only, please.

A report on KGIA Advisory Member Abdur-Rashid’s Troubling Ties

Thanks to Joe Kaufman and FrontPageMagazine.com for this article, and Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, who contributed to this report.

Islamist Payola in the City of Brotherly Love

By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | 1/3/2008

The history of the United States runs through Philadelphia. It is there that the American Revolution was born. However, a new revolution threatens to take hold of Philly, a Muslim one. It is led by one of Philadelphia’s favorite sons, singer/songwriter/producer Kenny Gamble (a.k.a. Luqman Abdul Haqq), who has a master plan to renovate a once great part of the city using taxpayers’ money. While on face value his intentions appear to be worthy, Gamble’s revitalization plan for Philadelphia has sinister implications, leading to the question: Will Philadelphia remain “the City of Brotherly Love” or will it become a city of Muslim Brotherly hate?

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Ikhwan in America exists, in large part, within two immigrant populations. One is the Arab Muslim community, falling under the aegis of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and to a smaller extent the Muslim American Society (MAS). The other is the South Asian Muslim community, positioned under the umbrella of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a subsidiary of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Pakistan. These groups form the core of MB America.

Still, there is a third U.S. Muslim population of much less acclaim/notoriety. It is the African American Muslim community, and it consists mainly of converts who fall within a number of categories, many of which overlap, including black power advocates, racial separatists, ex-felons, anti-Semites and hate America firsters. There are two organizations that encompass all of the above: the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black supremacist group that is built upon the hatred of whites and Jews, and the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), the African American version of ISNA and ICNA.

MANA was founded in May of 2000, in response to the arrest of cop killer H. Rap Brown, a.k.a. Jamil Al-Amin. According to the group, it was officially formed on January 27, 2001. Today, MANA coordinates a vast network of mosques and Islamic organizations.

While MANA is almost entirely an African-American-based entity, the group has aligned itself most closely with Arab and South Asian “Brotherhood” organizations. In fact, MANA’s Amir (President), Siraj Wahhaj, is the former Vice President of ISNA U.S., and MANA’s General Secretary, Ihsan Bagby, is a national board member of both ISNA and the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

One of the functions of MANA is to hold yearly conferences. The group’s most recent event took place this past November in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, entitled ‘The State of the Black American Muslim Community.’ At the affair, certain outside organizations, such as CAIR, were permitted to set up shop to showcase their materials. One of the groups, the Philadelphia-based International Islamic Information Network (IIIN), propagates lectures given by Saleh as-Suhaimi, who stated during one of his speeches that a wife needs to practice “obedience” to her husband and cannot go “outside the house without his permission,” and if “it comes to a point where he has to hit her, that it does not break the skin or does not break a bone or does not leave a mark or a bruise…”

Most of those attending the conference were people unknown to the non-Muslim world. But one in particular has been in the public eye for decades.

Kenneth Gamble is an icon within the music business, in part responsible for over 170 platinum and gold albums and songs, including “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Love Train,” and “Me and Mrs. Jones.” As stated by John A. Jackson, in his A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul, by the end of 1974, Gamble along with his partners Leon Huff and Thom Bell “were the top three soul producers in the pop music industry.”

According to Jackson, though, things started to unravel for Gamble, when, in 1975, the record company he helped create, Philadelphia International, became embroiled in a payola scandal. That, the demanding workload placed upon him, his heavily mortgaged business headquarters, and his failing marriage, all led up to a nervous breakdown. It was around this time that Gamble began to turn to Islam.

The first group that had an impact on his newfound religion was the Nation of Islam, a black supremacist movement that was founded in the ‘30s. About NOI, Gamble stated during an interview on Saudi TV Channel 2, “[T]he Nation of Islam… was a tremendous brotherhood that promoted self-help and ‘do for self.’ And being a conscious person, I looked at our communities and I looked at us as a people, and I thought that that was something that the African American community really needed to think about and to get involved in…” [Currently, Gamble is involved in the NOI-associated “10,000 Men.”]

But Gamble – now, Luqman Abdul Haqq – was not to reach the true Brotherhood, until April 21, 2001, when he was chosen to be on the first Executive Committee (Diwan) of MANA. The following day, almost a year after its founding, the establishment of MANA was announced. The event took place at the Philadelphia Masjid, which was at the time headed by Shamsud-din Ali (a.k.a. Clarence Fowler), who is rumored to be a friend of Gamble. Ali, an ex-leader of the notorious Black Mafia, had previously been incarcerated for murder and is presently serving out an 87 month jail sentence for charges that include racketeering.

Today, Gamble sits on MANA’s Majlis Ash Shura, the ruling body which sets the policy and agenda for the group. Others sitting on the Majlis with him include:

  • Johari Abdul Malik, imam of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, labeled by investigative journalist Paul Sperry as “The Most Dangerous Mosque in America.” Malik, in November of 2004, stated that it was better to be a Muslim under poor conditions than to be a “kaffir under any conditions” and warned that Islam, one day, would overtake Christianity as the “first religion in America.”
  • Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (MIB) and member of the Advisory Board of the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), a controversial Arabic language school in New York City. Abdur-Rashid, in January of 2007, on a Tampa, Florida radio program stated that many black churches are controlled by white churches and that “usually when you’ll find an African American pastor speaking in that negative kind of way, there’s a hidden devil, so to speak, somewhere in the background egging him on.”
  • Altaf Husain, former President of the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Husain is the U.S. Correspondent for Islam Online, a site that issues religious rulings (Fatwas) in support of: Palestinian suicide bombings, terrorist attacks against American troops, and the death penalty for homosexuals, including the throwing of homosexuals from tall buildings (“Death Falls”).

Gamble’s interaction with MANA goes far beyond the organization and well into his community. Within the “ACTIVISM” section of MANA’s website, MANA discusses Universal Companies (UC), its recovery plan for a part of Philadelphia that has been ravaged by drugs and violence. The effort, which is being led by Gamble, consists of children’s schools, a social services department, an entertainment foundation, and real estate holdings, which include low-income residential properties.

According to MANA, Universal Companies is “one of the best-kept secrets in Muslim America.” While this may or may not be so, the fact that UC is a Muslim institution is no secret at all, and this has some concerned that the effort is being done for the sole purpose of creating an all Muslim enclave within the heart of Philadelphia.

Gamble, providing a reason for this unease, stated the following to Saudi television: “One of the intentions that we had from the beginning was to create a model, so that, in the coming years, Muslims would be able to live close to each other, that they would live closer to the masjid (mosque), that they would eventually be able to open up businesses so that they would be able to employ each other and develop community life.”

The UC “masjid” that Gamble is referring to is the United Muslim Masjid, whose website’s homepage currently features pictures from MANA’s November conference. The address of UMM is 810 South 15th Street, which places it on the same block as Universal Companies, located at 800 South 15th Street, and Salaam Enterprises, a social services organization run by Gamble’s wife, Faatimah, at 814 South 15th Street.

Of interest is another group, the United Muslim Movement (UMM), found at the same address as UC. According to UC’s website, it (UC) has been in operation since 1993, yet it was incorporated only in June of 2002. On the other hand, UMM was incorporated in June of 1994. In addition, the website for UC began in May of 2001, while UMM’s site was shut down just after, in July of 2001.

As well, the missions of the two groups are nearly identical. As stated by Gamble, along with having Muslims “living closer to the masjid,” “Universal Companies goal and objective is to be involved in the political, the social, the economic, educational activities that go on that make up all those systems that make up a community.” According to the former website of UMM, “Our goal is to build both a central Masjid in the City of Philadelphia and a strong organization responding to social, economical, political, educational, and religious needs facing our communities.”

Question: When Universal Companies states that it started in 1993, does it really mean that the United Muslim Movement started then? And if the answer is yes, does that then mean that the two groups are really one and the same? This leads to concern number two, that not only is Universal Companies in existence to form an all Muslim Philly enclave, but that it is being done with the blessings and money of the city and the state of Pennsylvania.

On the ex-UMM site, one could read that it was part of the group’s mission to “establish the religion of Islam with the clear representation of the Quran and the Sunnah…” If the group wished to receive funds from the government, surely it would not be able to do so with this type of rhetoric, not to mention the religious significance of the group’s name. As well, the UMM site listed its member organizations as including ICNA, ISNA and the American Muslim Council (AMC), three groups tied to terror. Therefore, a name change was in order, and what could be more innocuous sounding than “Universal Companies”?

There are two further corporations that share the address of UC and UMM. They are Universal Community Homes (UCH) and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS). Both of these entities play a large role within Universal Companies; the President of the Board of Trustees of the school is UC’s President and CEO, Abdur-Raheem Islam. As well, both UCH and UICS are financed via the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

About the role the city and state play, with respect to UC, Gamble stated: “The city of Philadelphia has been an intrical part of what we’ve been doing, and they have participated in economic growth, as far as our real estate ventures. We’ve gotten tremendous recognition from them – as much as they can do – and I think you couldn’t do a project like this without having a public/private partnership. You need not only the city of Philadelphia, but we also have a great relationship with the state of Pennsylvania. And that is the way business is done here in America…”

In fact, the participation and recognition from the city and state towards Gamble’s organization has been worth millions of dollars. In April of 2003, the city of Philadelphia issued a press release announcing a $100 million revitalization plan, whereby Universal Companies would build or renovate nearly 400 homes in South Philadelphia, through the local government’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI).

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street is quoted in the release as saying, “NTI has provided us with a unique opportunity to rethink our neighborhoods and develop well thought out solutions to 50 years of decay and neglect; it was intended to be a catalyst, to help foster change, to spur development, to forge much needed partnerships with great organizations such as Universal Companies. Kenny and I have been talking about this Philadelphia renaissance for more than two decades.”

In February of 2003, a report came out discussing how Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was providing $250,000 towards Gamble’s plan to move New York City’s R & B Foundation to Philadelphia, to become part of Universal Companies’ “Entertainment and Economic Development Strategy.” Gamble now sits on the board of the foundation.

One can say that Mayor Street and Governor Rendell have been kind to Gamble because of what they believe he offers to his community. However, one cannot overlook the kindness that Gamble has provided both of them. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, between June of 2001 and April of 2006, Kenneth Gamble has contributed $44,000 and $27,000, respectively, to Street’s and Rendell’s campaigns for Mayor and Governor.

In June of 1975, Gamble and 18 others were indicted in a payola scandal, in which the Justice Department accused Gamble’s record label of offering bribes in return for airplay. In the end, he was fined $2500. Today, while he is still tied to the music business – he will be inducted into the 2008 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Gamble has sought out new avenues to deal in. Unlike before, though, his present ventures are tied to a radical form of religion, one that puts a Muslim Brotherhood organization, MANA; a black supremacist group, NOI; and his own Islamic organization, the United Muslim Movement (Universal Companies), on center stage.

Why would the local and state government get so involved in something that could prove potentially dangerous for its citizens? Is it blind ambition or is it money for money? Has Kenny Gamble learned from the past or is this 1975 all over again? Regardless of the answers, if things continue as they are going, very soon the city of Philadelphia will be experiencing its first taste of Sharia law – a sad note indeed for America’s birthplace.

Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.


Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Terror-Free Oil Initiative.

Opinion: Mayor Bloomberg There are Transfats in KGIA

     Mayor Bloomberg, when you send a team of transfat experts to the school will you make good on your Chancellor of Education Joel Klein’s promise to monitor the Khalil Gibran International Academy  for political and/or religious content in textbooks, teacher handouts, and lesson plans?  With an Advisory Board of radical Islamist Imams, Priests, and Rabbis, New Yorkers are asking themselves why isn’t there an official monitoring board in place at the Khalil Gibran International Academy public school as promised?  We are also aware that if questions about what would be taught in the school weren’t raised there would be a halal lunch offered to public school students.  Has our Mayor and Department of Education forgotten about the Separation of Church and State?  New Yorkers haven’t and feel that this is a dangerous precedent.

     Here is a list of excellent questions that can be used by the monitoring board.  It is part of an excellent article written by M.Zhudi Jasser,  founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, explaining the urgent need for public accountability for “Islamic” educational institutions in the U.S. 

Discerning Islamist from non-Islamist Schools – a guide to begin the debate

The only way to counter such an insidious ideological insurgency is for us as a nation to undertake a far-reaching analysis and public discussion about what students at these Islamic schools are actually being taught about ‘sharia’ law and its role in the society. Here are a few questions American communities may want to pose to principals and curriculum coordinators of local Islamic schools in order to understand whether the school has a political agenda in its teachings or not.

1.         How does the school teach American history and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? What is taught about the struggle of our founding fathers against theocracy? Is European Enlightenment ideology taught? Are students encouraged to learn from non-Muslim philosophers especially those who influenced our founding fathers and taught liberty and freedom?

2.         Are students taught that sharia is only personal or that it also specifically guides governmental law? Does their answer change whether Muslims are a minority or a majority?

3.         Do they view non-Islamic private and public schools as part of a culture of ‘immorality’ and decadence since they are not Islamicized or can non-Islamic schools be morally and equally virtuous?

4.         Do they teach their children that ‘being American’ and being ‘free’ is about moral corruption or is being American and free about loving the nation in which they live and sharing equal status before the law regardless of faith tradition?

5.         Is complete religious freedom a central part of faith and the practice of religion? In the Islamic school, how are children treated who refuse to participate in school faith practices?

6.         Are the children taught Muslim exclusivism with regards to the attainment of paradise in the Hereafter? From that, are the children also taught that government and public institutions must thus be ‘Islamic’ in order for the community as a whole to be able to enter the gates of Heaven?

7.         How are student discussions, debate, and intellectual discourses approached regarding American domestic and foreign policy? Do the teachers have a political agenda? Does that agenda demonstrate a dichotomy between Islamist interests and American interests?

8.         Is the historical period of Muslim rule of Spain (Andalusia) taught in the context of the history of the world during the Middle Ages or is it looked upon as superior to current day American ideology even after the advances of the Enlightenment?

9.         Is the pledge of allegiance administered every day at the beginning of the school day?

Certainly, this analysis and exposure would not be in any way to limit the freedom of Muslims to establish and operate these private educational facilities. But rather, quite the contrary, with exposure of the political Islamist agenda of many of these schools, Islamist schools will be slowly marginalized or obligated to reform. Then the non-Islamist and anti-Islamist schools will flourish while teaching reasoned pluralistic Islamic thought wholly compatible with the foundational principles of America.

    

     Mayor Bloomberg, before you dismiss this as a problem affecting only private educational institutions note-

“A few receive direct government support as charter schools which is incomprehensible in the setting of what should be a separation of religion and state in America.” [emphasis added]  KGIA is a public school supported with taxpayer dollars.

The scope of the problem – taxpayer complicity

A recent 2004 study by the NCES documented 182 Islamic private schools in the United States. Just last week the Voice of America trumpeted a report that, “Muslim Americans Establish own Schools in the U.S.” This statement of fact was presented with the apparent assumption that such a fact was good for Muslims and good for America. That would be the case if Islamism was not being taught and they would in fact be an asset if anti-Islamist ideas were being encouraged and debated. However, the simple fact that the schools taught Arabic seemed enough to the VOA reporters. Someone needs to inform them that translation services are often only as good as the ideological and political agenda of the translators themselves. In today’s oversimplified discourse on Islam it seems to matter little to the media or government whether Islamic schools are creating growing legions of pro-Islamist Muslims or not.

Let us also not forget that many of these institutions are operating with tax benefits and tacit government endorsement. A few receive direct government support as charter schools which is incomprehensible in the setting of what should be a separation of religion and state in America. Others, however, receive indirect government support through tax incentives as exists in Arizona or voucher programs as have been implemented in Ohio. There needs to be a greater public awareness of whether the ideology taught at these schools is compatible with Americanism and freedom as we know it. http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/challenges.php?id=1385607#

Dhabbah “Debbie” Almontaser: Retract Lies and Defamatory Accusations

   

Group Demands Apology from Almontaser

BY Staff Reporter of the New York Sun
November 28, 2007

An advocacy group is demanding an apology from the former principal of a Brooklyn school with an Arabic-language theme. The Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition, which has lobbied for the Bloomberg administration to shut down the Khalil Gibran International Academy and requested the firing of its founding principal, Dhabah Almontaser, is asking Ms. Almontaser to apologize for accusing the group of “stalking” her and making “vicious anti-Arab and anti-Muslim comments.”

Writing to her lawyer, Alan Levine, in a letter sent Monday, an attorney for Stop the Madrassa, David Yerushalmi, demanded Ms. Almontaser publicly rescind her comments and issue an apology to the group.

Mr. Yerushalmi also picked out Ms. Almontaser’s public attack on a supporter of the group, the historian Daniel Pipes, whose columns run in this newspaper. The letter calls Ms. Almontaser’s contention that Mr. Pipes “has made his career fostering hatred of Arabs and Muslims” unfounded.

Mr. Levine could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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