NY Madrassa Principal Almontaser's Suit Dismissed

By BEILA RABINOWITZ

September 9, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Earlier this month, Judge Sidney H. Stein of Manhattan's District Court dismissed a First Amendment lawsuit brought by Dhabah aka Debbie Almontaser, the principal designate for New York's taxpayer funded Arabic school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy [KGIA].

During her brief stewardship, Almontaser caused an uproar by telling the media during an interview that the word intifada meant "shaking off" instead of explaining that it had to do with a violent uprising by Palestinian terrorists including Hamas.

The phrase - in it's entirety, "Intifada NYC" - appeared on a T-shirt which was being sold by a KGIA support group at an Arabic street fair.

Almontaser's radical outlook made the school, which many believed was organized as a Muslim indoctrination center - a madrassa - a lightening rod. Among her more controversial statements she alleged that the FBI had infiltrated her community, that president Bush was trying to destroy the country and that U.S. foreign policy is racist. She also denied that 9/11 was perpetrated by Arab Muslims. [see https://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=kgiagroup1%2Ehtm]

According to Israel National News, "Shortly after her resignation, Almontaser sued the Department of Education, its chancellor, and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. She claimed that they not only violated her free speech rights, but also prevented her from regaining her job as a principal." [source, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133308]

The case was dismissed because judge Stein found that Almontaser's statements were made in her capacity as an employee of the New York School District and not as a private citizen, as a result her First Amendment rights were not abridged.

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