In today’s New York Post – A column that gets right to the point, by Andrea Peyser:
SHIRTING THE ISSUE
“Sorry” Principal First Defends “Intifada”-Wear
August 7, 2007 — HOW many ways can you define “suicidal”?
The school hasn’t even opened yet. But the hijab-wearing principal of a taxpayer-funded school founded especially for Arab students has issued a fatwa against the kids of New York.
She said there is nothing wrong with intifada.
And the principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy – scheduled to open next month less than two blocks from that hotbed of radical Muslim thought, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue – argued about the definition of the word that has sent so many to their graves.
But after a day of outrage and calls for her head, the principal, Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser, apologized.
What a fiasco! It had to be orchestrated by – who else? – the city’s Department of Education.
Scary new insight into the minds of those who will run the Arab school came to light this week. It was learned that T-shirts emblazoned with the inscription “Intifada NYC” are being proudly sold by an extreme Muslim group that shares office space with a group Almontaser fronts.
The Post gave Almontaser every chance to condemn the shirts’ message of armed struggle against the West. She didn’t.
Instead, she defined “intifada” – whose meaning is as clear as the hole in the ground in lower Manhattan – as “shaking off.”
“I understand it is developing a negative connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas,” she said. “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.”
It begs the question – how are our girls oppressed? Does she mean they are put down by Western ideals of free speech, thought and religion?
But yesterday, Almontaser turned about.
She issued a statement saying, “The word ‘intifada’ is completely inappropriate as a T-shirt slogan. I regret suggesting otherwise. By minimizing the word’s historical associations, I implied that I condone violence and threats of violence. That view is anathema to me.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind yesterday said, “It is an absolute outrage that she doesn’t know what intifada is all about. This is not about shaking off – this is about carnage represented by blowing up pizza stores in Israel, blowing up buses.
“This woman should not be principal of any school,” Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said. “This shirt should read, ‘I promote terror and hate on a daily basis, and all I got for it is this lousy T-shirt.’ ”
Department of Education spokesman David Cantor said the matter is over – for now.
I can only conclude that political correctness trumps self-preservation when it comes to education.
How many ways can you define stupidity?