Inside Today’s Bulletin
NYC School Raises Terror Questions
By: Joe Murray, The Bulletin
08/29/2007In September, New York City will open Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), a publicly-funded middle school that, according to a New York City Department of Education description, “will teach Arabic language and culture while adhering to all state academic and legal standards.”
While the city emphasizes the fact that KGIA “is a nonreligious school and will be open to all New York City students,” such assurances have not quelled the fears that the academy is going to be a vehicle for radical Islam and a potential breeding ground for homegrown terrorists.
“This proposed public school is nothing more than an incubator for the radicalization that leads to terrorism, as a NYPD intelligence report warned Americans just about two weeks ago,” explained Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national Christian public law firm.
The report Thompson is referring to is an Aug. 15 study by the NYPD that describes the process of how Muslim immigrants are captured by the siren song of radicalism. The study notes that this radicalism places the frustrated immigrant on the path to terror.
In an effort to voice his concerns and the concerns of New Yorkers, Thompson announced that TMLC will represent a group of citizens who are opposed to the KGIA and have filed a request for records under the Freedom of Information Act. To date, that request has been unanswered.
In opposing the establishment of KGIA, Thompson argues that the school frustrates the educatory goal of assimilation, has ties with members of radical Islam, flames the passion of anti-Americanism and is hypocritical in light of New York City’s treatment of Christian and Jewish schools.
“Rather than use the public school system to assimilate Muslims and other immigrants into American culture, New York City is doing everything it can to keep them isolated – a target-rich environment for recruiting potential new homegrown terrorists and a recipe for a future 9/11 disaster,” Thompson stated.
Furthermore, unlike the sectarian schools of the past, KGIA does not seek to use an Arab lens to teach an American history but instead puts forth and Arab history for an Arab people. While the KGIA executive summary talks fondly of Arab portraits adorning the hallways of the Sarah J. Hale building, its home in September, there is no mention of the four men on Mount Rushmore.
It is this type of behavior and isolation that has many critics concerned.
“As uncomfortable as it makes one feel, we must understand that the political goal of radical Islam is to destroy our Judeo-Christian culture. And the KGIA is a Trojan horse that New York City is building for radical Islam with taxpayer money,” noted Thompson. Also of concern are those heavily involved with KGIA.
Imam Talib Abdul-Rashid, the resident imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, is on KGIA’s advisory board. His mosque’s Web site contains the motto, “The Qu’ran is our constitution, Jihad is our way. And death in the way of Allah is our promised end.”
Others involved with the school have been connected to Council of American Islamic Relations, an Islamic group that many argue has terror connections. And finally, KGIA’s principal, Dhabah Almontaser, resigned the post after defending “NYC Intifada” T-shirts.
Despite the controversy, New York City officials are defending the school.
“New York City School Chancellor, Joel Klein, who is aggressively promoting this Islamic school, is the same person who refused to allow two Christian students, a second- and a fourth-grader, to display a nativity scene during Christmas – another example of how political correctness is leading to a malicious double standard when it comes to religious expression in public schools,” stated Thompson.
“Government officials are afraid of Muslims, so they are more willing to accommodate. They are not afraid of Christians and Jews, so they are less willing to accommodate. This is hypocrisy,” added Brian Rooney, communications director for TMLC.
While TMLC concedes that the school will open on Tuesday, they plan on monitoring the school to make sure it does not cross any constitutional lines. If those lines are crossed, a lawsuit will be filed.
Just recently, the Friends of Gibran Council, a group protecting the legacy of Khalil Gibran, the school’s namesake, asked the city to change the school’s name. The group claims that Gibran was a Lebanese Christian and would not have condoned radical Islam.
Supporters of KGIA were contacted but did not immediately return phone calls.
Joe Murray can be reached at email@example.com.