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 â€œa 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 buildingsâ€”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)â€”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 â€œintifada.â€
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 NYCâ€™s Educated Communities
Kathleen Cushman, Education Writer
Lisa Delpit, Center for Urban Education and Innovation, F.I.U.
Michelle Fine, The Graduate Center â€“ 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