Sara Springer of the Stop the Madrassa Coalition sets the record straight on yesterday’s article pushing the nightmare of a public school madrassa agenda.
In general we are being accused of the school’s failure given Almontaser resigned due to her statements about the NYC Intifada t-shirts. By the time Almontaser resigned mid-August the curriculum had been chosen, the teachers hired, and she had completed her personal recruitment of students for the school. She worked with a Design Team for a year prior to KGIA’s opening. Ostensibly the school should have been ready to go. Whether or not she was there should not matter. A public school should be able to function well with any Principal.Evidently the school’s students are experiencing behavioral problems. Almontaser recruited them personally and elementary schools forward the student’s records so she had to know her student body. If provisions were not made then the responsibility rests with her.Following are quotes from the NY Times article with my response-
“NY TIMES: But Ms. Almontaser’s downfall was not merely the result of a spontaneous outcry by concerned parents and neighborhood activists. It was also the work of a growing and organized movement to stop Muslim citizens who are seeking an expanded role in American public life.”
SPRINGER RESPONDS: Outrageous assertion. We have been extraordinarily careful in documenting every statement linking Almontaser to radical Islamist groups such as CAIR, American Muslim Lawyers Association (AMLA), Muslim Consultive Network, Muslim American Society, Adalah, and Al Awda. This statement is prejudicial to the extent that it infers we are opposed to Muslims participating in American life. We have absolutely no issue with this. Our concern is with the “soft jihad” that is infiltrating our schools with the intent of bringing Shari’s law into our society by indoctrinating our children. Ibrihim Hooper spokesman for CAIR told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a 1993 interview “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”NY TIMES: “Muslim leaders, academics and others see the drive against the school as the latest in a series of discriminatory attacks intended to distort the truth and play on American’s fear of terrorism. They say the campaign is also part of a wider effort to silence critics of Washington’s policy on Israel and the Middle East.”
SPRINGER: Our concern is based on the people and organizations that Almontaser has hand-picked to work with the school and students. Truth has not been distorted. Again, we have carefully documented our statements and have pursued our right to legally seek transparency from the Department of Education.
NY TIMES: “(The advisory council never met and has since been dismantled, and the school does not offer halal food, Education Department officials said).”
SPRINGER: According to KGIA’s Executive summary the plan and intent was to offer Halal food in the school cafeteria. The school does not offer halal food because the DOE refused the request. KGIA was supposed to officially disband the advisory board through a public statement but this was never done.NY TIMES: Although Ms. Almontaser said she never spoke to the reporter about the t-shirt, she defended the girls in the organization because she believed that the reporter was set on “vilifying innocent teenagers.”
SPRINGER: Mona Eldhary, a co-founder of AWAAM, the organization that designed, produced, and distributed the NYC Intifada t-shirts is an active member of Al Awda (she is listed as such on their website). Al Awda (the Return in Arabic) is …..a political advocacy organization that calls not for a peaceful settlement with Israel, but “peace” through the replacement of Israel by an Arab dominated state called Palestine.” [go here for more]. Its website clearly states its mission, “Al-Awda supports the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.”
“NY TIMES: During the Post interview, Ms. Almontaser said, she told the reporter Chuck Bennett that the Arab women’s organization was not connected to her or the school, and that she would never be affiliated with any group that condoned violence.”
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.
“NY TIMES: A department spokeswoman said that a list of textbooks selected for the school was sent to the lawyer last fall.”
SPRINGER: The documents given to the Stop the Madrassa Coalition pursuant to an Article 78 demanding the information since 4 FOIL’s were not adequately responded to did not contain textbooks, lesson plans, or worksheets regarding the teaching of Arabic language and culture.Donna Nevel in her interview liked to the article said that the opponents of the school don’t like Arabic language dual education. We at the Stop the Madrassa Coalition have always maintained that many languages including Arabic should be taught as an elective in schools across the city.
NY TIMES: “Ms. Almontaser never considered herself unenthusiastic about America, she said.”
· Almontaser has called America a racist country.· She has said that the U.S. brought the 9/11 attack upon itself.· She opposes the War on Terror· She supports numerous radical organizations, including the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Trial for terrorist financing, where CAIR’s relationship to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, has been repeatedly argued by the prosecution· She accepted an annual award from CAIR in 2005.· She is on the board of the Muslim Consultative Network, whose members include unindicted co-conspirator CAIR and the radical Islamic Circle of North America. The Muslim Consultative Network is a major sponsor of the Almontaser Reinstatement Effort.· Has been a spokesperson for the Muslim American Society for a NYC 9/11 event.· Refused to answer a NY Sun reporter as to whether or not Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations· Refused to say that the Intifada was a Palestinian terror campaign against innocent Israeli civilians, children, women, and men.· Dabah has appointed radical Imams to her schools Board of Advisors.
Background on organizations partnering with KGIA
1. The American Muslim Association of Lawyers (AMAL) offers internships, and helps with a course in human rights (in 6th grade…) (P. 7, p. 18). The AMAL website appears to be inactive (http://www.theamal.org/index.shtml) but the group (or at least their website) was founded by Omar Mohammedi, President of the New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and lawyer for the infamous “6 imams” who have threatened to sue airline personnel and passengers for “profiling.” CAIR is currently under investigation in the Holy Land Terror-financing trial, as an unindicted co-conspirator.2. The American Mideast Leadership Network will participate with the school as an important partner (pages 16-18). According to the Executive Summary, the AMLN will provide trips to “ stabilized” Middle Eastern countries, create internships, provide an after-school leadership program and provide intensive language opportunities. According to our research, they may do all this while acting as Hezbollah apologists, if their leader’s statements are representative. On July 31, 2006 Rami Nuseir, the President of the AMLN, stated on CNN that:“A lot of people look at Hezbollah as a social service agency that provides a lot of help for the Lebanese people. And that’s where the sympathy comes from.”3. A main partner listed in the Executive Summary, the Columbia University Teachers College Department of International and Transcultural Studies teacher training in fact teaches about one religion and one only – Islam. KGIA only recognizes the teaching of a single religion in this ostensibly public school (page 8):4. Arab Culture will be taught, however no where is there mention of Sephardic Jews, Ba hai’s, Coptic Christians, Druze, Lebanese Christians, or any other Arab culture except Islamic culture.5. The DOE website for the KGIA lists as its first partner the Arab-American Ant-Discrimination Committee. Its founder and President is none other than the former Democratic Senator James Abourezk who recently appeared on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Television. Al-Manar is banned in the U.S. because Hezbollah is designated by the government as a terrorist organization. Azbourezk stated that the Arabs involved in 9/11 co-operated with Zionists, the Israel Lobby controls the U.S. Congress, Hamas and Hezbollah are “resistance” fighters, not terrorist organizations! Lastly Abourezk said that all Americans are racist.Note that the ADC website provides biased educational instruction and curricula for middle and high schools and is overtly Islamic in its ideology. Not only is the ADC the first name on KGIA’s DOE website as the main partnering organization, this name was the first on the petition to reinstate Dhabah Almontaser as Principal.6. The Arabic-American Family Suport Center located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is another key partner working with KGIA. Their website links to the Council on Islamic Education’s lesson plans. Why are NYC public school students being taught the nuances of Jihad?· Define Jihad in its literal and applied meanings, as a principal and as an institution.· Describe legitimate conduct of war according to Islamic Law.· Differentiate between rebellion and terrorism according to Muslim jurists.This is what middle school children will be learning in a public school. The Executive Summary specifically states that the school will teach Islam and there were teacher training retreats held this past summer so that all teachers would be on the same wavelength.
As for school performance? It”s an abject failure.
KGIA, enthusiastically supported by, among others, convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, former Weather Underground leader and bombing justifier William Ayers, former SDS and Communist Party organizer Michael Klonsky, and Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party (created by the late racist Khalid Muhammed), and a local imam who proudly posted the slogan and symbol on his website, has been the focus of numerous media reports, including one published in today’s New York Times by winning reporter Andrea Elliott.Ms. Elliott reports that shorly after KGIA’s opening day, “Chaos soon erupted inside. Students cut classes and got into fights with little consequence, said staff members, parents and students. At least 12 of the 60 students showed signs of behavioral problems or learning disabilities, said Leslie Kahn, a licensed social worker and counselor who was employed at the school until January. (Education Department officials, who denied repeated requests by The Times to visit the school, said there are currently six special-needs students there.)“ ‘Something is flying through the air, every class, every day,’ Sean R. Grogan, a science teacher at the school, said in an interview. ‘Kids bang on the partitions, yell and scream, curse and swear. It’s out of control.’ account continues, “Physical altercations are frequent, Mr. Grogan and others said, with Arab students and teachers the target of ethnic slurs. “I just don’t feel safe,” said an Arab-American student, 11, who will not return to the school next year.Stop the Madrassa also is speaking out about the relationship between KGIA’s founding principal, Ms. Almontaser, and a deeply troubling “community statement” that was recently addressed to Policy Commissioner Raymond Kelly.According to journalist and author Stephen Suleiman Schwartz, who is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, on November 23, 2007, in response to the above-mentioned community statement, a statement was issued “in the name of the ‘Muslim community,’ ” protesting the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) release last year of its vital report on terrorism. Among other demands, the community statement called on the NYPD to stop distributing the report to other jurisdictions’ law enforcement agencies, and, as Schwartz put it, “arrogated to themselves the right to decide what the city’s police should do in response to the challenge of radical Islam. “Schwartz, writing in The Weekly Standard, also reports that in a March 3, 2008 meeting in , CAIR officials Faiza Ali, Aliya Latif, and Omar Mohammadi “were joined by Islamist agitator Syed Z. Sayeed, religious adviser to the Saudi-backed Muslim Students Association at . They noted that the NYPD had asked for a detailed reply to the report. The participants at the March 3 get-together also observed that while they would prepare such a response, CAIR itself has financed and is working on a more thorough text designated its ‘long-term analysis/alternative model of radicalization.’ “Almontaser was also,as Schwartz reports, involved in CAIR’s counter-attack against the NYPD as evidenced by that fact that her “assignment in dealing with NYPD was to organize an online discussion group for input into the Community Statement.”Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition notes Mr. Schwartz’s assessment that “…Almontaser should quit her masquerade as a moderate and her non-Muslim enablers should end their naïve defense of her alleged mainstream outlook. “ The coalition further points out that Ms. Almontaser has been a financial supporter of controversial , and adds that the time is long overdue for a full city and state investigation into the creation of KGIA and the possible role of Islamist organizations in any aspect of the school’s establishment or operation.
Please read it all.
And there was this incredible admission from a teacher made in the comment section of the article:
As a teacher at KGIA I have to say things have barely improved since Holly Reichert’s appointment. This week alone we have 6 students out on Suspension, one for carrying a knife to school. We have a teacher on a medical leave of absence after a student threatened to beat her, this caused her blood pressure to spike to a very unhealthy level.For more and updates please go to Atlasshrugs-