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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

News Crew Attacked By Islamic School Officials

In early April I wrote about the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), which is a charter school that Katherine Kersten, columnist from the Star Tribune exposed for religious practices held during school hours that are not consistent with a publicly funded schools and what is allowed.

Her investigations which included statements from a substitute teacher led to the ACLU formally sending a letter as well as the Minnesota Department of Education starting an investigation about a publicly funded school not working within the mandates of how a charter school is to be run in regards to religion as well as a couple other issues they were looking into.

The state reported their findings and notified TiZA of what changes needed to be made for the school to comply with state law regarding charter schools.

The specific areas of concern the MDE found were with the Friday Communal Prayer, which was one of the issues the original reporter found in her investigation where students were forced to participate.

Flashback to the original report:

Afterward, Getz said, "teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap, who had been at the school all day," was preparing to lead prayer. Beside him, another man "was prostrating himself in prayer on a carpet as the students entered."

"The prayer I saw was not voluntary," Getz said. "The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred."

Islamic Studies was also incorporated into the school day. "When I arrived, I was told 'after school we have Islamic Studies,' and I might have to stay for hall duty," Getz said. "The teachers had written assignments on the blackboard for classes like math and social studies. Islamic Studies was the last one -- the board said the kids were studying the Qu'ran. The students were told to copy it into their planner, along with everything else. That gave me the impression that Islamic Studies was a subject like any other."

This is a religion issue as many have made clear, it is the fact that charter schools are public schools and thereby have to comply with state laws regarding religion in the school place.

So the MDE addressed that in their report as well as well as the school providing after hours transportation to after school religious programs, and sent their findings to the school so the school had a chance to comply with the law.

Enter the KSTP news crew who went to the school to see if they had any comments about the changes the state said they had to made.

You can see the video for yourself.

While on school grounds, our crew was attacked by school officials. Our photographer was injured while wrestling with the two men over the camera.

Our photographer was examined by paramedics and suffered minor shoulder and back injuries.

These attacks show the school officials temperament as well as committing violence in view of the children, which also calls into question whether the TiZA should be in operation and especially whether they should receive taxpayer funding.

(Hat Tip memeorandum)


Taxpayers in Minnesota Paying For An Islamic School?