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My letter to Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York Department of Education

Reader comment on item: A Madrasa Grows in Brooklyn

Submitted by Constantine Kipnis (United States), Apr 29, 2007 at 15:53

Dear Mr. Klein,

After much discussion, and having garnered the enthusiastic support of at least a dozen friends and neighbors here in Brooklyn, I am writing to register my objection to the proposed opening of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn.

I assure you that my objection cannot be discounted as the ravings of an Arab-hating lunatic. I am no less a devotee of diversity and
multiculturalism as well as the plethora of liberties bequeathed us by the founders of this country. Having said this, I must direct your
attention to the preponderance of evidence pointing to the ill results of government programs which purported to serve diversity through
catering to the special needs of the Moslem population (both in the US and across Europe). Invariably, the shapers of hearts and minds under the auspices of such programs are found to harbor at best a twisted appreciation for American values and, all too often, have been guilty of direct and crude propaganda aimed at children who will never know better.

There are already government-funded schools in the UK which have gone down this road and where radical elements have sufficiently established themselves in the teaching and administrative staff to succeed in changing the school's curriculum. No more mentions of Holocaust is one recent "success" achieved in such an environment.

A cursory scan of the instructional materials available in the Arabic language and widely used in such schools will reveal social studies
texts that foment anti-Semitism (via Holocaust denial and reference to the Protocols of the Elders), stress the inherent "corruption" of the
Western way of life, and in every way either subtly or overtly pursue the theme of Islam as the redeeming faith for the ailing West. Arabic
magnet schools are routinely viewed within the radicalized Islamic circles as an enabler of conversion of people with zero prior Moslem
heritage into the one faith.

Until and unless a group of educators emerges in this country which is prepared to advance the historical cultural heritage of Arabs and other
Moslem peoples WITHOUT simultaneously seeking to proselytize religion and propagate offensive falsehoods about the host nation, and we have NOT reached such a point, the least we should be doing is not actively aid radical Islamic elements in their propaganda effort and, indeed, we would do well to have more oversight over the educational establishments of this sort already in existence.

The first child to go through the Khalil Gibran school and strap on an explosives belt will be on the conscience of us all. But, in the more
moderate scenario, if all the child does is grow up with disdain for "pagan" Christians, Jews, and Buddhists, automatic hatred for Israel,
and the kind of social perspective that feeds people who view "imperialist" US as the root of all evil - can we then congratulate ourselves on a job well done?

In the 1950s-80s there were schools in the US which offered Russian language instruction because the government saw the need for Russian speakers to bolster a credible defensive effort against the menace of our Cold War foe. Such schools never had the latitude to also preach the Soviet weltanschaaung as part of the package - students were presented with how WE understand things in Russia rather than how the Soviets wish them to be understood. If we want to create a cadre of people with a good understanding of the Middle East, both in terms of language and cultural skills, this should be done very carefully indeed.

The Khalil Gibran Academy, led by the unfortunate choice of Ms. Almontaser

(http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=almontaser41907.htm) and
promising 50% enrollment of Arab children will do no such thing. Instead of teaching non-Arabic Americans who have no access to this type
of education about the Middle East, this will be a state-funded madrassa within a short span of time. Radicalized teachers enjoying the
protection of union membership will be able to teach offensive materials with impunity. Any attempts at oversight would be immediately met with obstruction by a city bureaucracy uninclined to find fault with its own blessing for this endeavor.

The time to act is now, before it is too late. Let's nip this idea in the bud rather than create a festering wound in the community for years
to come.


Constantine Kipnis


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