Back in July I reported on the proposed Khalil Gibran International
Madrassa Academy in Brooklyn, and the efforts to stop it from opening in September. KGIA is a public school, funded by taxpayer dollars just like any other New York public school, but it will feature an Arab language curriculum with textbooks and course materials selected by people and organizations associated with radical Islam.
For months an organization known as Stop the Madrassa has worked tirelessly to alert the public to what is happening under their noses. Led by a dedicated New York resident named Pamela Hall, STM has come up against the full weight of the New York City establishment, with the mayor, the city council, the school authorities, and most of the MSM united against it.
A few weeks ago STM happened to discover a series of T-shirts on sale at an Islamic festival in New York. The shirts featured the phrase “Intifada NYC” in their design — what a lovely, peaceful, multicultural sentiment! The organization that was selling the shirts included on its board Dhabah Almontaser, the principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy.
Stop the Madrassa organized a campaign to publicize the shirts, which are guaranteed not to endear these organizations and KGIA to the hearts of the NYC public. Ms. Almontaser did one of those entertaining little dances that public officials do when caught in flagrante, first denying, then denouncing, then spinning, then explaining, and then issuing a non-apology. Finally admitting that her organization did indeed sell the shirts in question, Ms. Almontaser ludicrously asserted that “intifada” was a harmless Arabic word that simply meant “shaking off”.
But by then the whole fiasco had erupted into the media, reaching beyond local TV to the national networks, and STM had gained The New York Post as an invaluable ally. Ms. Almontaser’s days were numbered, and the city was finally forced to throw her off the back of the sled.
The Islamist principal, Dhabah Almontaser, who had been put in charge of establishing a New York City public school for the ostensible purpose of teaching Arabic has submitted her resignation, according to an announcement made this morning by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on John Gambling’s radio show on WABC. The Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition — a group of parents, teachers, and concerned citizens — is relieved to learn that Ms. Almontaser will no longer be able to pursue her unmistakable ambition to use the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) as a vehicle for promoting her radical ideological agenda.
Ms. Almontaser was forced to resign after she dissembled about her views concerning the term “intifada” — a word she tried to suggest did not have its plain meaning: a violent insurrection against freedom-loving Western societies. As the New York Post editorialized today, “[Almontaser] initially dismissed the significance of the term ‘intifada,’ saying it was merely an Arabic word meaning ‘shaking off,’ and claimed the shirts were ‘an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society…and shaking off oppression.’ That’s nonsense on its face; anyone foolish enough to believe it isn’t fit to hold a teacher’s license, let alone a principal’s warrant.”
Unfortunately, the removal of such a principal from this school less than a month before it opens is not sufficient. Serious questions about her handiwork — her choices with respect to KGIA’s curriculum, its textbooks, its teachers, the “retired Arabic-speaking community members” the Post reported that she wanted to bring in to “converse with the students during lunch periods,” etc. — remain to be satisfactorily addressed.
This is an important success for STM, but it’s only a small part of the battle. KGIA is still scheduled to open, with the same questionable curriculum and the same dubious resources behind it.
If you live in New York City, you’ve got a dog in this fight. Check in with Stop the Madrassa daily, because that’s where the latest and most complete information will be.
Little victories. We’ll take ’em where we can get ’em.