Here, another attempt to impose discipline on the NYC authorities by the Arab American Family Services Center and AWAAM – from the “Democracy Now” Interview (just an excerpt, go read the whole thing) with host Amy Goodman, Paula Hajar, an Arab American activist, and Mona Eldahry, founder of AWAAM (producers and sellers of the “Intifada NYC” t-shirt) .
At least they giving Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg fair warning – and who are those “other interested parties”? Time for national CAIR and others to show up, perhaps? The President of NY-CAIR, Omar Mohammedi, is also a founder of the American Muslim Association of Lawyers (AMAL), which is a KGIA curricula partner according to the Almontaser-designed KGIA Executive Summary (disclosed only through our Freedom of Information Law request):
PAULA HAJAR: It will be in that second place, that I think that Mr. Klein and Mayor Bloomberg —
AMY GOODMAN: Joel Klein, the Chancellor of Schools.
PAULA HAJAR: — have not backed down on the idea of the school, on the existence of the school. I think they are committed. I think that our community needs to — and other interested parties needs to remind them of their commitment, but I think — at least that was my understanding from talking with Debbie’s family, that they are committed to opening this school.
AMY GOODMAN: And the forces opposed, how would you characterize them? Who are they?
PAULA HAJAR: People who are afraid. People who are afraid and ignorant, and that’s exactly why we need the school.
MONA ELDAHRY: The forces opposed are actually, you know, organized, organized people, who should be, you know — who should be brought to, you know — we should address this. There’s a Stop the Madrassa Coalition, and if you go to their website, you can see all of the organizations who are involved. There’s Pamela Hall, who’s the head of that. And there’s Daniel Pipes, who is a blogger, website owner, you know. And they have really whipped up this hysteria. And the thing is that the press, the Post and Fox, have actually helped them do it. The press is — if it wasn’t for the press, Randi Weingarten would not have condemned Debbie, and if it wasn’t for that, Debbie probably would not have resigned.
AMY GOODMAN: And let me explain, Randi Weingarten is the president of the United Federation of Teachers. She previously had defended the school and, according to the Times, called the word “intifada” something that ought to be denounced, not explained away. Your comment on that, Paula Hajar?
PAULA HAJAR: You know, the language is a large language. Obviously words can be used any and in many different ways. And “jihad,” for example, “jihad” has an explanation. “Jihad” is a struggle. It’s more relevant to the inner struggle. It’s like your twelve-step program or Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers. It’s what you do to get clear, to kind of clean up your own business. That’s what a jihad really is. But people use it always as a holy war. And this “intifada” — I mean, Mona gave a beautiful explanation, and that was what Debbie was referring to. And people cannot just have these knee-jerk reactions. They have no context. They’re not allowing for context either.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. We have to wrap up. Last comment, Mona.
MONA ELDAHRY: I think there’s a culture of fear around the Arabic language. You know, the term “madrasah” has been used against us. You know, all of these things. But, you know, you could go to our website and tell us what you think about, you know, the “I word.” Take the “I word” survey. What do you think about “Intifada NYC”? Send us your blogs, and we will post them. And stay tuned for our press conference Wednesday, to be announced.