In theory, the creation of a publicly funded school singularly organized to promote a particular culture, is neither good educational policy nor is it in keeping with the founding principles of “melting pot” America.
In the case of a school which is intended solely to serve Arabic culture this is even more so the case because of the fact that Arabic culture is so inextricably tied to the Islamic religion; hence the controversial nature of the New York City Board of Education’s intent to create the Khalil Gibran school along those very lines.
According to the Board of Education’s spokesman, David Castor the “Khalil Gibran International Academy…will not be a vehicle for political ideology.”
What exactly does Mr. Castor mean and does it mitigate the concerns expressed above?
We believe that when all of the issues surrounding the formation of the proposed Khalil Gibran International Academy [KGIA] are examined, one must hasten to the conclusion that it’s a disastrous idea which will set a dangerous precedent and that American citizens should not be forced to accept a government funded madrassah.
Since the character of any institution is determined by those who comprise it, an examination of the players within the Arabic community who are KGIA’s primary advocates and who will be intimately involved in designing and running it, seems reasonable.
Dhabah [aka Debbie] Almontaser has been chosen to be the principal of the KGIA. She a devout Muslimah and a long time practitioner of da’wa [Islamic propagation] operating stealthily until now, under the guise of “multicultural educator.” Not surprisingly Ms. Almontaser has received recognition for her efforts and an award from the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR a Saudi funded Wahhabist front group for Hamas] along with Ghazi Khankan [former director of CAIR’s New York Office] for “community service.”
As if to underline the philosophy of CAIR, Khankan is on record as having shouted “I bring you salaams and greetings from the Mujahideen at CAIR” at one of the group’s rallies.
The Yemeni born Almontaser wears a hijab – a conspicuous outward sign of devotion to Islam – and has spent years acting as a Muslim apologist in the public schools. She began doing this immediately after 9/11 because she believes that Muslims were the real casualties of those attacks and have since suffered inordinate discrimination and fear because of it.
Almontaser’s statements post 9/11 reflect a Muslim-centric viewpoint of victimhood and resentment which will be the sentiment that will be the operative ethic of the Khalil Gibran school.
Through her da’wa outreach work in the NY school system Almontaser has functioned as a 9/11 denier, having taken advantage of her created position as an authority figure to engage in a campaign of disinformation.
Speaking to a group of impressionable sixth grade children in Brooklyn’s PS 51 Almontaser stated, “I don’t recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims.”
The least one can expect from a professional educator is an approximation of truth and to allege that those who carried out and planned 9/11 were not Muslim Arabs is spectacularly untrue.
Seeking ever wider audiences to indoctrinate, Almontaser is a leader in a group called “Brooklyn Bridges” which is working to devise a “September 11 Curriculum” to be taught in schools across the city. We must assume this material will prominently feature Almontaser’s factually inaccurate 9/11 revisionism.
Continuing the mythology of Muslim victimization post 9/11, Almontaser has said, “After Sept. 11 there was an unending need to educate people…and because I had always had a passion for this type of work, I felt equipped to do it.”
The fact is that the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 were themselves an education, on the nature of the Islamic radicalism and the danger that it poses to the same children that Ms. Almontaser is propagandizing.
That Brooklyn school district supervisor Carmen Ferenia would have sought out and empowered Almontaser to preach the Islamist party line to children is indefensible, but beyond the scope of this article.
Therein lies the primary danger of multiculturalism, it denies citizens the right to assess threat levels posed by aggressively confrontational cultures, branding reasonable judgment as base prejudice.
Such attitudes are calculated to advance and impose an ignorant conformity which is furthered by social mechanisms such as fear of being called a racist and the resulting ostracism that moniker brings.
For this reason Ms. Almontaser’s “Islam Lite” program of miseducation will never mention who was responsible for what preceded 9/11 – the 1993 World Trade Center bombing – and that one of the largest mosques in her multicultural utopia, Al Farooq was the home to the first wave of al-Qaeda operatives who arrived in the United States in the 1980s.
Almontaser will bring her skewed viewpoint to the KGIA because she lives in a parallel Islamist universe where places like Atlantic Avenue are presented as shining examples of the immigrant experience instead of being seen as hotbeds of jihadism for over two decades.
A pivotal player in the push for KGIA is the Arab American Family Support Center [AAFSC] which suggests that the school will be a mere extension of the AAFSC.
“AAFSC plays an important role in the school. Their On-Site Coordinator ensures that all students and their families have access to a wide range of services, Adult English language instruction (ESL) parenting classes, Arabic language instruction for the first year, counseling and access to healthcare.”
The AAFSC is a controversial organization. They claim to be, and we do not challenge their assertion that they are “the first and largest Arabic-speaking social service agency in New York.”
However the AAFSC operates from the bellicose perspective [a position indistinguishable from Ms. Almontaser’s] that Muslims were victimized by the “backlash” created by 9/11.
“Arab-American immigrant community has been one of the most severely impacted by the 9/11 backlash as evidenced by the campaign of sweeps, raids, detentions, deportations, interrogations and investigations conducted by government authorities.” [source http://www.aafscny.org/word_docs/AAFSC_9_11_Report.pdf]
This claimed discrimination serves as the basis for AAFSC’s outreach.
Not only is there no mention of the authentic victims of the 9/11 tragedy in its literature – the 3,000 Americans who lost their lives due to Islamist terror – but the AAFSC has effectively employed its false sense of victimhood as a means to fundraise.
“The discrimination and hostility directed against Arab-Americans created a general sense of anxiety, fear, and depression in the Community?To respond to these needs, AAFSC expanded its existing programs and initiated several new services to address the legal/immigration issues, youth problems, and mental health difficulties created by the post 9/11 hostile environment.” [source http://www.aafscny.org/word_docs/AAFSC_9_11_Report.pdf]
In an examination of some of AAFSC’s tax filings, their 990s reveal that the overwhelming majority of their total funding [$881,967 in FY 2005] comes from government sources [$723,030].
Approximately 10% of the group’s funding in that tax year went to their executive director’s [there were three during this fiscal year; one departing, one acting and the new director] salary, which in our opinion is an unusually large fraction. This was not an anomaly because in previous years, on gross receipts of approximately $900,000 the executive director was paid in excess of $90,000 [FY 2003]
To what purpose are these funds put and how many are actually served?
This is difficult to determine except through literature provided by the AAFSC on its website in which they claim to serve “thousands of clients a year.”
However in the organization’s “Post 9/11 Report” their core program seems to serve far fewer:
“The Child Welfare Program, funded by the NYC Administration for Children’s’ Services (ACS), has been an AAFSC core program since 1994. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the family unit of newly arrived Arab immigrants. At any given time, the program assists 60 underprivileged Arabic-speaking immigrant families””AAFSC served 84 families with 239 children in FY 01-02, but the increasing demand for services compelled the Center to extend its services to 95 families and 292 children in FY 02-03, and to 108 families and 199 children from July 03 to June 04.”
From the outside at least, such a level of outreach on one’s “core program” does not in our opinion constitute very much in the way of “bang for the buck.”
Rather this group, wedded to the effort to establish the KGIA seems to function more as a cash cow, chanelling public funds to a group of people pushing an Islamist agenda.
Much higher on AAFSC’s list of priorities is legal assistance, especially with the Special Registration requirement of ICE.
The Special Registration program requires all male foreign visitors, already in the US, aged 16 and older from the specified countries [25 mainly Arabic countries] to register at designated immigration offices within a given time period.
During the three year period 2002-2004 AASFC seems to have provided legal counseling to approximately 1,000 individuals [source http://www.aafscny.org/word_docs/AAFSC_9_11_Report.pdf figure 3]
Regardless, the AAFSC seems to function primarily as a conduit, channeling government funding into the pockets of its staff and director rather than providing the level of services and outreach that one might expect given this level of funding.
It seems unreasonable for an organization which obtains 75% of its funding from the government to then blame that institution for creating the laundry list of discriminatory offenses and grievances which AAFSC wears on its sleeve.
Assad Jebara is a member of AAFSC’s board of directors [source www.aafscny.org/bod.htm].
He is the President & CEO of Zana Di Jeans/Alpha Garments, Inc., a member of the Board of Governors of the Arab American Institute and a Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee [ADC] [sources http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Assad_Jebara, http://www.arabamericannews.com/newsarticle.php?articleid=6940]
In 2004 Jebara gave $100,000 to the ADC in what was the single largest contribution during their fundraising banquet. In 2006 the ADC in Michigan gave Assad Jebara the Arab American of the Year award at their annual banquet.
In January 2006 the ADC in New Jersey opened a new office and Jebara was one of the main financial contributors:
“Our efforts would not have succeeded without the gracious generosity of two ADC supporters. The financial contribution of ADC National Board Member Assad Jebara made it possible for ADC-NJ to initiate the process of locating an office space and hiring a staff member. We could not be more grateful to Mr. Jebara for his generosity. In addition, Mr. Mohamad Matari of Matari Realty was instrumental in securing the office space and for making ADC-NJ an offer it could not refuse. The Arab American community, and ADC-NJ in particular, owes its undying gratitude to these committed gentlemen.” [source http://adcnj.us/ADc_Office.htm]
The ADC is an Arab supremacist organization that uses its influence to push a radical agenda. It’s funded by Saudi donors, as noted below.
About the organization, Dr. Daniel Pipes observed in a March 10 entry in his weblog:
“the school [KGIA] was designed in part by the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC). Need one say more?…ADC includes a motley collection of leftist and Islamist extremists?this?confirms my worries about it.” [source http://www.danielpipes.org/]
Despite the great financial rewards his American business efforts have produced, Jebara displays the same adversarial mindset against the country and citizens which made it possible, thus intellectually aligning himself with the ideology of those pushing the KGIA:
“We’re (Arabs and Muslims) going through a tough time right now. We’re being picked on and demonized? We have to fight hard to lessen the impact of what happened on September 11.”Jebara recalled being on a trip to Aleppo during the 2001 World Trade Center attack.
“When I heard about it…I felt my heart drop.”
He also said he knew that from then on, things would be much harder for Arabs in the U.S.” [source http://www.arabamericannews.com/newsarticle.php?articleid=7564]
Ahmad Jaber, M.D. – President, Arab American Association, NY
Dr. Ahmad Jaber is a senior attending physician at the Lutheran Medical Center which is one of the collaborating partners of the AAFSC. He implemented a halal program and opened a mosque there. He sits on the board of two mosques.
[Jaber’s colleague and LMC board member Dr. Khaled Anasseri sits on the board of the AAFSC. He is also a graduate of Columbia University whose teacher training program is named as a KGIA partner. AAANY board member John Abi Habib is the CEO of MSI NET company which is listed as a partner with the KGIA. MSI NET has several contracts with the NYC public schools for providing software and related computer services. According to DOE spokeswoman Melody Meyer, Abi Habib has been one of the KGIA’s leading advocates.]
Jaber sits on the board of Beit Al Maqdis Islamic Center, Arab Muslim American Federation, the Islamic Mission of America and is chairman of the board of the Dawood Mosque which is part of the Islamic Mission of America.
Jaber has adopted Almontaser’s line on Muslim victimhood. In a New York Times piece written less than two months after 9/11 Jaber stated that:
“the fear effect was rampant,” [and] said that a lot of women who cover themselves with traditional head scarves faced harassment or abuse. Lately, though, some of the fear has turned into indignation?”You have to understand our background,” said Dr. Jaber, noting that many Middle Easterners come from countries where officials have the power to imprison people with no pretext. Even after 27 years here, Dr. Jaber said, he still instinctively veers away from policemen. As for recent arrivals, he said: “If somebody knocks from the F.B.I. or the N.Y.P.D., they are scared to death. These are immigrant people who don’t understand their rights.” [source http://www.webcom.com/hrin/magazine/congressindark.html]
Dr. Jaber apparently thinks that though “immigrant people” have rights, they have no matching responsibilities. Such an attitude less than 60 days after America suffered the most serious terrorist attack in its history speaks volumes.
One day after 9/11 an article in the Columbia Journalism School paper titled “Terror and Response” quoted Isam Mayrola the secretary of the Beit Al Maqdis Islamic Center where Ahmed Jaber is a board member, said the attacks and footage of Muslims celebrating were both the work of Israel.
Mayrola said the footage of people clapping “is an old picture,” shot on a different occasion, that the Israelis have sent through their media. He contended that “all Palestinians have condemned this attack.”
Mayrola went on to suggest that Israel itself might have masterminded the attack as a means of diverting attention from its violent interventions in the occupied territories.
Emira Habiby-Browne, is the founder and former executive director of AAFSC. She claims to have started the organization because she was frustrated by discrimination.
“In 1994, frustrated by the discrimination she found in American organizations, she founded the Arab-American Family Support Center in downtown Brooklyn to serve the Arab immigrant populations of New York City.” [source http://web.gc.cuny.edu/womenstudies/womencenter/AWV/Habiby-Brown.html]
In Habiby-Browne we again see the misplaced sense of victimization and resentment:
“HABIBY-BROWNE: When I heard, when I first heard it [about the 9/11 terrorist attack] and I heard them say Pearl Harbor, immediately I had visions of being rounded up and being put into camps. I mean, every time anything happens I think all of us of Arab background feel this sense of incredible dread and fear of oh my gosh what is going to happen now?”
Among the groups partnering with the KGIA, as listed on the AAFSC website:
Alwan for the Arts is a politicized, anti Israel group promoting an Islamist and anti Western agenda. A recent speaker was Mustafa Bargouti a cousin of the terrorst Marwan Bargouti jailed for several life sentences for the murder of Israelis.
In 2005 Alwan hosted an event for “political prisoners in the United States and Palestine” to benefit the Addameer prisoner support group based in Ramallah which is tied to Hamas. One speaker called for the support of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. An attorney from Al-Awda [Right to Return Coalition] spoke on behalf of Sheik Mohammed Al-Moayad who had been sentenced to 75 years for support of Hamas. Sheik Al-Moayad refers to Osama bin-Laden as “my sheik.”
In a piece titled “Arab Culture near the WTC” Alwan board member Anny Bakalian made the following bizarre statement:
“There was a silver lining to Sept. 11th,” Bakalian said. “In as much as there has been stereotyping and persecution and negative pressure on the Arab and Middle Eastern community, there has also been a generosity of spirit “and an openness on the part of Americans to understand fellow Americans.” [source http://www.alwanforthearts.org/05_06/downtowne_rev.html]
Under what construction of the term “silver lining” could be applied to the violent burning death of 3,000 Americans remains to be seen.
Bakalian’s words echoed that of the director of Alwan Ahmed Issawi who stated in the same article, that it was just a “happy coincidence” that Alwan was located in Lower Manhattan, the place most associated with the result of Arab anger and violence.”
This brings us back to the topic at hand, the Khalil Gibran International Academy which is slated to open in September.
As the Brooklyn’s first Arabic studies school it would be concrete and brick example of using public monies and buildings to spread the radical Muslim agenda of Islamization.
As we previously noted in New York Set To Open A Public Jihad School
One might have hoped that the 9/11 attacks would have constituted an “education by murder” for Americans, an example of radical Islam in its most lethal form; so why has the New York City Department of Education decided to open an Islamist public school whose curriculum shares the same ideology as the September 11 terrorists?
Slated to be the school’s principal, Dhabah [aka “Debbie”] Almontaser was presented an award by the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR, the Saudi funded front group for Hamas and a co-defendant in a 9/11 terrorism lawsuit] and more importantly, the curriculum of her school has been designed by the radical American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee [ADC].
The ADC’s funder [and recipient of the ADC’s “Global Achievement Award”] Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s 10 million dollar donation to the 9/11 victims charity was rejected by then NY Mayor Giuliani because of Talal’s claim that American policy towards Israel was the reason for the terrorist outrage. Talal has also raised money to reward the family’s of suicide bombers.
The ADC is also in the forefront of filing discrimination lawsuits and legal challenges aimed at obstructing the FBI, JTTF and Homeland Security from investigating Arab and Muslims who pose potential terrorism threats. [source http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/671] Six years after the attacks and still no memorial at Ground Zero, instead 2007 will see the opening of the taxpayer funded Brooklyn based madrassah aka “The Khalil Gibran International Academy for Arabic and Islamic Culture.”
Though the KGIA has been inaccurately described by principal Almontaser as a place where Arab American students can learn Arabic, “and have a better understanding of where their ancestors came from” she has proven by her actions and statements to be consumed with the propagation of a philosophy of Muslim victimology and rage.
By its very nature and organizing principles the KGIA stands against the American bedrock ideas of inclusion and social cohesion. The proposed institution would represent the sanctification of Almontaser’s misquided theories of Muslim oppression and desire for Arabic separatism.
Those responsible for the design of the school curriculum, those associated with promoting the school as a concept and the person charged with heading the institution give great weight to legitimate fears that KGIA will become a hotbed of Islamist activism, a breeding ground for angry Muslim and Arab youth who will then have no wish to engage with non-Muslims – having been schooled in the belief that the “outside” non-Arabic community will always hold them in low esteem.
This is a dangerous policy because it creates a self-fulfilling myth that American Muslims are being forced to live under a siege mentality, that they are being threatened and harassed on a daily basis because of their ethnicity and religion.
To prove that such a broad-based allegation of active discrimination is a fabrication, all one has to do is look at the board members of the AAFSC which clearly shows them to be successful professionals, graduates of America’s top universities, with organization’ founder, an Arabic woman having been paid $90,000 dollars a year. One of their board members is also part of the mayor’s office so the group has direct access to city officials which directly links the Arab and Muslim community to social welfare programs providing food, healthcare, counseling, vocational training, legal immigration services and university tuition subsidies.
KGIA is a program built on a series of lies, whose only function will be to divide.
Going ahead with this program will push Brookyn one step further down a path that leads to an atomized society, full of recrimination and fear; the perfect incubator in which radicalism can and most assuredly will breed.