Khalil Gibran - Joel Klein Must Keep Promise And Shut Down Religious School

By Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer

May 7, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - - In response to mounting evidence that the proposed Khalil Gibran International Academy [KGIA] will become a madrassah, Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York Department of Education made the following statement at a press conference held early last week:

"If any school became a religious school, as some people say Khalil Gibran would be, or it became a national school, in the sense that it really wasn't an American public school, I would shut it down," said Klein. "I promise you that." [source]

Spokeswoman Melanie Meyer echoed her boss' comments:

"This school is not a tool for political or religious ideology...and we'll close it if it shows any indication that that's what it will become." [source]

Pending such "proof," the NY Department of Education is looking for a new home for KGIA since parents raised objections to its presence in P.S. 282.

With an Islamist principal, terror tied Imams on its advisory board and an Arabist agenda KGIA is the definition of a madrassah. Scrapping the school immediately seems the prudent course of action rather than allowing such a misguided, dangerous and publicly funded project to go forward.

KGIA's students will be instructed in Arabic and those chiefly responsible for promoting the school are hard core Islamists - who along with their leftist sympathizers - have constructed a business model based upon addressing exaggerated claims of discrimination against Arab/Muslim Americans accompanied by demands for entitlements.

The school's principal designate is Dhabah Almontaser.

Almontaser is a 9/11 denier, speaking to a group of sixth graders in Brooklyn's PS 51 Almontaser stated, "I don't recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims."

She also believes that American foreign policy was responsible for the 2001 attacks:

"Today I believe that the terrorist attacks can have been triggered by the way the USA breaks its promises with countries across the world, especially in the Middle East and the fact that it has not been a fair mediator with its foreign policy." [source]

In an interview with National Public Radio on July 13, 2006 she likened the American response to 9/11 to that of totalitarian excess:

"right here in this community...we stated to see people literally disappearing....the police came and took them in the middle of the night and we were like what is going on..."

This confrontational mindset - "us against them" - breeds separatism, not integration and produces an environment in which radicalism will flourish.

Imam Shamsi [Syamsi] Ali is member of the KGIA advisory board. He cynically stated that "People are very much excited-very much encouraged by the school...After Sept. 11, Arab communities felt misunderstood . Such a school I think will show our good intentions."

Ali's idea of good intentions involves promoting jihad by groups like the al-Qaeda linked Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA] at whose conferences and youth camps [referred to, pre-9/11 as "jihad camps"] he lectures.

In 2006 Ali was one of the speakers at a Muslim Youth camp near Philadelphia together with Mazen Mokhtar of the masjid Al-Huda of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Mokhtar, was accused of helping British al-Qaeda operative Babar Ahmad to create backup copies of the jihadist website. Court papers stated that the administrators of that website aimed to "solicit funds for blocked organizations, namely the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen, in an effort to support their goals."

The summer before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 ICNA held a Jihad Camp in Pennsylvania which one leader explained was "intended to "help them (the youth) understand what the concept of jihad really is."

At a 2000 ICNA event ICNA director Tayyab Yunus pleaded with the audience:

"The youth is very important...And we all want to see our youth succeed and become engineers, but how many of you can actually say you want to send your sons to Jihad-to Chechnya? [Takbir-Allua Akhbar] How many of you can actually say that you want to send your youth to fight in jihad…or to send them to these Islamic institutions to be educated? I'm sorry .Other than that, I honestly believe in my heart that this is the time, right now is the time." [source]

The presence of Imam Ali on the KGIA advisory board is further proof that the school's agenda will have more in common with the type of "Islamic institutions" which ICNA director Tayyab Yunus urged Muslim parents to send their children to in preparation for jihad.

Imam Ali comes by his affinity for madrassah's naturally, he runs one:

"At the Muslim Center of New York, in Queens, boys aged from seven to 14 rock back and forth as they memorise the Koran. It is a scene from thousands of mosques in the Pakistan many of their families left - except this is the US, with a very American attitude at the top. The imam, Syamsi Ali..." [source]

Regarding the practice of instructing students in Arabic, Dr. Daniel Pipes explains:

"Evidence from Algeria also points to the impact of Arabic instruction, as documented in James Coffman's breakthrough 1995 article "Does the Arabic Language Encourage Radical Islam?" He compared Algerian students taught in French versus those taught in Arabic and found that Arabized students show decidedly greater support for the Islamist movement and greater mistrust of the West. Arabized students tend to repeat the same simplistic stories and rumors that abound in the Arabic-language press, particularly Al-Munqidh, the newspaper of the Islamic Salvation Front. They tell about sightings of the word "Allah" written in the afternoon sky, the infiltration into Algeria of Israeli women spies infected with AIDS, the "disproving" of Christianity on a local religious program, and the mass conversion to Islam by millions of Americans." [source]

Dhabah Almontaser is also on the board of the Muslim Consultative Network along with Ali. Other members include Wissam Nasr, the former CAIR New York director who now runs the oxymoronically named Islamic Institute of Human Rights and Adem [aka Adam] Carroll of ICNA who is the MCN board chairman.

The MCN works in tandem with radical Islamist groups with terrorism ties such as ICNA/MAS, ISNA, CAIR and the MSA and will doubtless wield their influence on KGIA.

Mohammad Razvi [also an MCN board member] sensing an opportunity to promote Islamism, has become a vocal defender of KGIA, predictably he has announced that his 11 year-old son will be in attendance.

Razvi heads COPO [Council of Pakistan Organization/Council of People's Organization] which recently championed the case of an illegal alien taxi driver who is being deported after stating his opinion of President Bush, "he's an asshole. If I had a gun I'd shoot him."

On the criticism of KGIA and Almontaser Razvi states, "It's just outrageous…It is not fair for anyone to make such negative remarks because the school is going to be teaching Arabic as a language. She's a person who brings communities together and makes them understand and works on peace."

Presumably, Razvi's explanation that Almontaser "makes them understand" is a reference to her da'wa efforts. His statement to a reporter, that he thinks his group is under surveillance because of its activities, should come as no surprise.

By its very organizing principles KGIA will promote an Arab centric, separatist viewpoint and an Islamist religious agenda, the two criteria by which Mr. Klein and Ms. Meyer have stated should result in the proposed institution's demise.

Additionally a "public" school with an advisory board consisting of nine clerics out of ten would in more normal times raise a public outcry against the mixing of church and state matters.

Everything about KGIA screams madrassah because the political and religious agendas of its members indicate that the institution will be about indoctrination not education. Instead of looking for a new location for the school, Mr. Klein should keep his promise and "shut it down."

©1999-2007 Beila Rabinowitz, William A. Mayer, LLC, all rights reserved.