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Just one problem, Rodni

Reader comment on item: A Madrasa Grows in Brooklyn
in response to reader comment: Why not?

Submitted by Jeff (United States), May 3, 2007 at 18:05

Completely correct, Rodni, I see no big deal, either. No one is saying Muslim immigrants can't teach their children their traditions and language. I don't know a single person who would disagree.

However, there's just one problem. Those Yeshivas you mention, like Catholic schools, Christian schools and other private schools across America are private institutions, built with private funds. They receive no taxpayer money. Taxpayer funding of a religious school is illegal, due to constitutional limitations involving the separation of religion and the government.

Illegal, until now, that is. Something has changed, so now this Islamic school is taxpayer-funded. How many Catholic schools in New York, or anywhere else in the USA, are taxpayer-funded?

Besides, Jebran khalil Jebran was an Arab Christian like so many law abiding citizens in this country! So why the outright bigotry and finger pointing of some posters? The Arab minorities of Israel have similar schools and it's tolerated within Israeli society with no problems, so why should we in the most diverse city in the world deprive minorities from exercising their freedoms?

I don't know or care how Islamic schools are funded in Israel. They have their own constitution and don't have to follow ours. But we do.

The name of the school is irrelevant versus what will go on inside. Actually, that raises a second, and very troubling, issue. If I wanted to sound mainstream and non-threatening, that's the name I would have chosen, too, before I use the place to teach 9/11 fantasies, hatred of Western tradition and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. While discussing the decadence of the West, I wonder if the subject of sigheh will come up.

During lengthy discussions of Abu Graib, I wonder if Evan prison will get mentioned. In economics class, if there is one, I wonder if the economies of India and Pakistan will be compared and contrasted rationally. How about a course entitled "Arab economies without oil?" Think that will fly? Will discussions of the history of slavery include anything that ever occurred outside the USA, or will slavery be presented as strictly an American and western (and anti-Islamic) tradition? Will any western scientific advances be discussed without linking them back to some mysteriously stolen Islamic knowledge? I am not optimistic. And federal money flows freely into New York's education budget, so I have the satisfaction of helping to pay for all this. I'm thrilled.


If Jews have Yeshivas and rightfully would like their children to learn Hebrew and keep their ancient traditions alive, why can't Muslim immigrants teach their children their traditions and language? This is a multi cultural and open society that is based on tolerance and I see no big deal with Muslims wanting to open their own schools.


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