Arabic language classes = radical Islamist terror training?

LucyDuke

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A NYC public school is going to offer Arabic language and culture classes. People are apparently calling the school a madrassa and saying it will be an Islamist academy.

Spoiler :
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A public school in New York that will teach Arabic language and culture opened Tuesday amid accusations that it will impose a radical Islamist agenda in its classrooms.

About a dozen security guards and police officers were on patrol Tuesday when the Brooklyn school opened, mainly to shepherd the throngs of reporters covering the event.

Carmen Colon was thrilled at the prospect of sending her 11-year-old son to the school.

"I know for a fact that any American who learns Arabic will make tons of money whether it's translation, whether it's in the customer service area," she said. "I thought it was the best advantage I could give my son."

According to its Web site, Khalil Gibran International Academy's goal is "to prepare students for college and successful careers and to foster an understanding of different cultures, a love of learning, and desire for excellence in all of its students."

But a group called "Stop the Madrassa" insists there's a more sinister agenda and is demanding the academy be closed.

"We are paying with our public dollar for a religious school, a madrassa," said Pamela Hall, a member of the group.

"The Arabic immigrant students will be isolated," Hall said. "Whether that materializes instantly into terrorists, that's a huge statement to make. But are these students not assimilating and becoming part of the American fabric? And is that potentially a problem? We think so, yes."

Two parents who were on the design team for the school said it's not a religious school.

"In terms of the curriculum, if it's a New York City public school, it has to go by New York City standards," said Deborah Howard. "I'm Jewish. I would never be a part of a school that would in any way be involved with Islamic fundamentalists."

"To be attacked so viciously has been unbelievably unfair and quite sad," said Reyad Farraj, another parent on the design team.

Much of the criticism was directed at the school's Arab-American founding principal, Debbie Almontaser. Two local tabloids reported claims she had ties to Islamic extremist organizations.

The controversy reached a fever pitch when Almontaser was quoted defending the use of the word "intifada" on a T-shirt. She said in Arabic it simply means "shaking off."

Soon after, Almontaser resigned and the city replaced her with a Jewish principal who doesn't speak Arabic.

The verbal attacks caused Colon to pull her son out of the school.

"The people who are so against the school for me seem more like the terrorists, by terrorizing the community and making us feel that it's unsafe for our children to be there," she said. "They're the ones who are terrorizing us. Not the school, not the principal and not the administration."

Garth Harries, chief executive of the city's Department of Education's Office of New Schools, said 55 of the 60 slots have been filled at the school, which offers "a core sixth-grade curriculum."

The school will begin by teaching just sixth-graders, then add a grade each year to end up with 500 to 600 students in grades 6-12, Department of Education spokeswoman Melody Meyer told The Associated Press last week.


http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/04/arabic.school/index.html

Am I alone in thinking "what the hell?"?
 
Strange way of looking at things, as more Americans who have some understanding of Arabic language and culture could be a huge help for the various foreign policy arms (everywhere from State Dept. to CIA) of the US government.

Of course, it's a stupid complaint on other levels, too; should we have stopped teaching French after our little disagreement at the UN? Should we not teach Spainsh in case kids want to grow up to be Colombian cocaine plantation owners? Should we stop teaching nuclear physics in case little Irish Caesars decide to become atomic gang lords?

(Okay, I hate the slippery slope argument, but I had to make it...)
 
What the hell? ;)


"In terms of the curriculum, if it's a New York City public school, it has to go by New York City standards," said Deborah Howard. "I'm Jewish. I would never be a part of a school that would in any way be involved with Islamic fundamentalists."

Exactly. If it's a public school, its program will be accountable.
 
The terrorists have won!
 
HOWEVER:

The advent of Islam in Arabia, and its fanatical insistence on the destruction of all pre-Islamic culture, has left us with virtually NOTHING regarding the culture of Arabia before Mohammed. So all the material which we will find in Arabic today is post-Islam, and because it was produced by an Islamic society, pro-Islam.

Also, Islamic society today is backward compared to free ones. So even if the school is completely secular, steeped in the American ethos of freedom, and actually acts on those principles, the material which the students will gain access to due to their new ability will be none of that.

I'd say this is a GOOD THING - because it is better to make up your own mind than to rely on secondary sources - but this, keeping in mind the maturity of the child, and his ability to cope with this new information, is something to be factored in when a parent decides whether or not their child should be sent to learn Arabic at this school.
 
The funny thing is: after the original principal was forced to resign (since she made some kind of case that "intifada" was okay to put on t-shirts or something), the new principal is a Jewish guy that will oversee the opening of this school.

(Just noticed this at the end of that article. Still, I wonder how it will actually run. I suppose we will find out soon enough.)
 
I think the article goes way beyond the main gripe, and that is that this is a public school.

There are Arab schools all over the country. This is drawing attention because it's public.
 
I hope this helps more Americans learn Arabic so we can get some Arab-speakers in the embassies in the Middle East who can ACTUALLY speak Arabic like how they're supposed to.

Btw, how is this in any way radical Islamist terror training? :confused:
 
I don't quite understand... this is this a public school that just happens to teach Arabic? Right? Foreign languages were taught when I went to public school so I don't understand what the problem is. Or perhaps my Spanish class was spreading reactionary Catholic views.
 
This isn't a public school where you can learn Arabic. This is a public school that teaches everything Arab. History is to be taught from the perspective of Arabs, all the classes are taught in Arabic, so on and so forth.
 
This isn't a public school where you can learn Arabic. This is a public school that teaches everything Arab. History is to be taught from the perspective of Arabs, all the classes are taught in Arabic, so on and so forth.

That's different but I can't quite tell from the OP exactly what the school is about.
 
The advent of Islam in Arabia, and its fanatical insistence on the destruction of all pre-Islamic culture, has left us with virtually NOTHING regarding the culture of Arabia before Mohammed. So all the material which we will find in Arabic today is post-Islam, and because it was produced by an Islamic society, pro-Islam.
ok i'll give you that one, but their are christans and jews in iran and they can still worship how they want and even when they go to court they cna swear on their bible.

Also, Islamic society today is backward compared to free ones. So even if the school is completely secular, steeped in the American ethos of freedom, and actually acts on those principles, the material which the students will gain access to due to their new ability will be none of that.
HMM?? They quickly execute child molesters, rapists, and their streets are safe at 2am. Would you walk alone at 2am in NYC??

I'd say this is a GOOD THING - because it is better to make up your own mind than to rely on secondary sources - but this, keeping in mind the maturity of the child, and his ability to cope with this new information, is something to be factored in when a parent decides whether or not their child should be sent to learn Arabic at this school
If i was in 6th grade i would love to learn arabic!
 
HMM?? They quickly execute child molesters, rapists, and their streets are safe at 2am. Would you walk alone at 2am in NYC??

They also execute rape victims. A womans is only worth 1/2 of a man in court. Their streets are safe? Can you show some numbers to back that up? The high unemployment and high heroin addiction in Iran must be an anomaly since they don't have any crime right related to that? And I will walk through any part on NY at any time of the day alone.
 
So the US is backwards because NYC streets are not safe at night?


No the US is backwards because we don't have public executes of rapists, murders, and corrupt politicians.
 
They also execute rape victims. A womans is only worth 1/2 of a man in court. Their streets are safe? Can you show some numbers to back that up? The high unemployment and high heroin addiction in Iran must be an anomaly since they don't have any crime right related to that? And I will walk through any part on NY at any time of the day alone.
Because breaking the law in iran you would either get something cut off, executed or maybe just maybe live to tell another day. ANd no i don';t have the crime numbers with me night night. (And btw i said walk in any part of NYC at 2am.)
 
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