Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ACLU files suit against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy

**Update** Someone at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy has been reading and forwarding this blog post! Do you think I did them justice?

I first told you about the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, the Minnesota charter school catering to muslims on the taxpayer’s dime, in May. At the time my post, Taxpayer Funded Minnesota Madrassa, was the subject of ongoing investigative reports by Katherine Kersten and a substitute teacher Amanda Getz.

On Wednesday January 21st, after completing their own investigation, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the school citing clear separation of church and state violations. Named as defendants in the suit were TIZA Executive Director Asad Zaman, Islamic Relief USA, the school's sponsor, the Minnesota Department of Education and Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren.

The lawsuit said TIZA has close ties with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, "linked by a complex interconnecting set of personal, corporate, and operational relationships," including:

1) Both of the school's campuses are leased from the sectarian organization. The Inver Grove Heights campus is in the same building and address as the Muslim American Society of Minnesota mosque and headquarters. The Muslim American Society of Minnesota's Blaine chapter has used the telephone number of the TIZA Blaine campus to conduct business.

2) An after-school Muslim studies program has been offered by the Muslim American Society at the Inver Grove Heights campus and has conducted prayer sessions at TIZA during school hours.

The lawsuit also argues that "TIZA endorses the Muslim religion by permitting a prayer to be posted prominently in the school's entryway, Muslim prayer sessions to be held during school hours and teacher-sanctioned religious material to be posted on classroom bulletin boards.The school allows students and teachers to gather every Friday during school hours for 30-minute communal prayer led by parents or volunteers." and; "TIZA also prefers Muslim clothing rules by prohibiting girls, but not boys, from wearing short sleeves and requiring them to wear skirts or trousers that are a specific length."

But there's more; according to the complaint, Asad Zaman serves as executive director, trustee and principal of TIZA and is also vice president of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, the religious organization that leases space to the school. MeThinks there's a clear conflict of interest that should have been noticed by the Minnesota school board.


American Angle said...

I agree with the ACLU here...can't believe I just typed that...

this is outrageous and it only ruffles a few feathers..those pro American feathers that is...

Amazing that it's taking this long to address this egregious violation on our dime...the cynic..or realist side of me would say if it was a Christian school it would have been shut down and met with protests from across the nation.

Keep up the good fight!

janice said...

Thanks American Angle, and I too find myself siding with the ACLU on this.

Katherine Kersten (who was let go from the Star Tribune) was all over this from the beginning. Like you said, if this were a Christian or Jewish school they would have been closed the next day. Not to mention the coverage by the MSM.

SkyePuppy said...

If that last point were the only one, I'd say let it go. The standard to use is how this would be seen if it were Christians or Jews doing the same kind of things (as American Angle says). We have Christians running for office or starting charitable organizations because their faith directs them that way, so the fact that Zaman is on both boards isn't necessarily a concern by itself.

Taken with all the rest, though? Oh my goodness! What a scam at the taxpayer expense.

Like a broken clock, the ACLU is right once a decade (OK, the clock is right more often, but you know what I mean), and this is that time.

Dinah Lord said...


Looks like you've ruffled some Islamo tailfeathers, Miss J.

Yeah, we're watching you, you SOB's...

Dinah Lord said...

P.S. I wonder what Katherine Kersten is doing these days...she was all over this story and got screwed because of it.

I hope she's landed somewhere and is keeping up the good work.