By William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz
December 18, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On Sunday December 16, Dhabah Almontaser, the recently ousted principal of Brooklyn's embattled Arab language school Khalil Gibran International Academy, spoke as part of a series called the "Masked Talkback Series," held at the Daryl Roth 2 theater. The "talkback series" being organized around the controversial, pro-Intifada off-Broadway play, "Masked." Written by Israeli Ami Dayan, the plot revolves around the killing of a 7 year old Palestinian youth and the tension experienced within a Palestinian family, involved in the Intifada, who suspect that one of the family's three brothers is an Israeli informant, see "Masked" website, http://www.maskedtheplay.com/index_enter.html.
Almontaser's presence at the event [listen to audio file here, Almontaser Masked] brings her full circle back to the subject which was the tipping point, turning the tide against her effort to remain the head of KGIA.
Almontaser's remarks at the event betray a level of deception that might be shocking to those who fail to understand that misrepresentations and outright lies are stock-in-trade among Islamists - pushed with much histrionics by groups like CAIR - who have made the strategic calculation that in a world where multiculturalism and moral equivalency are in ascendance, legitimate critics of radical Islam can be muzzled, dismissed as bigoted Islamophobes.
Towards that end Almontaser's remarks spun a conspiratorial tale in which she was intentionally set up and "smeared" by a coalition led by certain New York and alternative media sources and shepherded back-stage along the way by the omnipresent bogeyman, the noted Middle East historian Dr. Daniel Pipes.
Even a partial transcript [13:50 - 24:12] is damning:"The school was announced on February 12?a couple of days later the bloggers began to blog, so the notorious Daniel Pipes started blogging about the school as being a school that would be developing home grown terrorists, suicide bomber?"
Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can access Pipes' blogs on KGIA; they are collected at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/731.
On March 7 of this year he wrote:
"My take on the school: In principle it is a great idea ? the United States needs more Arabic-speakers."
Thus during the time frame to which Almontaser refers, not only absent from Pipes' entries are any references to "home grown terrorists" or "suicide bombers," but rather in their place, verbiage clearly supportive of KGIA conceptually. His reservations regarding implementation of such a program, "...In practice, however, Arabic instruction is heavy with Islamist and Arabist overtones and demands." - are scholarly, reserved and stripped entirely of invective.
On this charge if Almontaser is not simply lying, she is delusional, neither desirable traits for someone who is still employed by the New York DOE.
Almontaser continues:"?the second phase of the smear was actually on me, where they started calling me an Islamic jihadist?behind those closed doors I was going to be developing terrorists?"
PipeLineNews.org has actively covered KGIA and Ms. Almontaser. We, not Dr. Pipes [who has never been one of our writers and has no connection to our organization] produced the short video mentioned in the court filing in Almontaser's lawsuit against the NY DOE for wrongful termination. We believe that our statements in that work are characteristic of what the overwhelming majority of critics of that school and her inept stewardship of it have said.
No legitimate critic of KGIA, certainly no responsible party in either the entrenched or alternative media has ever alleged that Ms. Almontaser was intent upon secretly, "behind closed doors?developing terrorists." We have, however observed that among KGIA's supporters are Islamists of every stripe and variety and that Ms. Almontaser is a 9/11 denier, facts borne out by the record."I don't recognize the people who committed the [September 11] attacks as either Arabs or Muslims." - Dhabah Almontaser speaking to a sixth grade class in Brooklyn's PS 51, source, http://www.jrn.columbia.edu/studentwork/cns/2002-06-10/584.asp
Almontaser continues:"...Daniel Pipes because he is someone who drives and lives on anti-Arab anti-Muslim sentiment, and I'm not the first of his victims, uhm there are probably over 15 or 20 other Muslim Americans whom he has gone after?these smear campaigns affect the local papers and the local papers affect the decision makers?this group that grew out of Daniel Pipes small team of mobsters?the Stop the Madrassa Coalition..."
Anyone researching Pipes' voluminous public statements and writings, looking for anti-Islam/Muslim/Arab sentiment, will return empty handed. Almontaser's statement is purely a canard, designed to further stoke the internal narrative of an audience already largely convinced that such bias exists and that Pipes is an active member of a Zionist neo-con conspiracy to influence foreign policy.
Continuing:"?of course they found absolutely nothing negative against me?"
That is aside from a litany of consistently Islamist statements and positions attributable to Ms. Almontaser including, that we are living in a police state ? "a little while ago the FBI infiltrated our community, people speaking Arabic were spying on us. That has lead to new detentions" - that the 9/11 attacks resulted from our actions against the Arab world ? "Today I believe that the terrorist attacks can have been triggered by the way the USA breaks its promises with countries across the world" - and that the Council on American Islamic Relations'[the unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation prosecution, from whom Almontaser received an award of merit] affiliated American Muslim Association of Lawyers is a reasonable organization with which to partner [see, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=kgiagroup1%2Ehtm and http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=kgiaexec8607.htm].
Almontaser attempted to pass off the "Intifada NYC" T-shirt incident which hastened her downfall as merely a problem of associations, "?AWAAM?were selling T-Shirts?which read Intifada NYC?they took a picture of it?they found out that the organization shared a space with an organization which I sit on the board of?made this tenuous connection that I was connected with this organization?was very much responsible for these T-Shirts?about the organization?this organization is not affiliated with me?"
Why Almontaser's intimate association with the organization [she co-founded the Yemeni American Association and her husband served as vice president] which provided AWAAM office space is not a legitimate area of inquiry is puzzling. Regardless, that aspect dims in comparison to the larger point regarding the Intifada incident, which is that Almontaser attempted to dismiss the term as merely meaning "throwing off" in Arabic, obfuscating and avoiding what any reasonable observer of the Middle East understands the term to be, the violent Palestinian jihad against Israeli civilians.
Of special note was Ms. Almontaser's statement regarding the interview she gave to a New York newspaper in which she claims - in furtherance of her conspiracy theory ? that the reporter stated "?we believe that you are planning a [undistinguishable] style uprising right here in New York City?"
Regarding that claim, when contacted by PipeLineNews.org, a source familiar with the three-way conversation between Almontaser, the reporter and a representative of the DOE denied that incendiary statement was made, period.
Upon a cursory examination of just 10 minutes of Almontaser's remarks we find them to be unsupportable, self-serving and apparently intentionally duplicitous.
Though Ms. Almontaser is no longer at the helm of KGIA, she is still employed by the NY DOE. The prospect of students being exposed to her extremism should be of concern to all New Yorkers. Moreover, the school she designed, which we and many others believe to be constructed to inculcate students with her conspiracy-laced Islamist philosophy, remains and will continue to be a lightening rod unless and until it is closed for good.
Only that move will end this controversy on the side of prudence.
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