Monday, October 18, 2010

TiZA, an Islamic Public School, Threatens and Intimidates Witnesses in ACLU Lawsuit

The latest outrage in a textbook case of Islamic supremacism in a taxpayer-funded Islamic school is the thug-like Muslim intimidation and bullying of anyone who challenges this publicly funded madrassah. I have been covering this school since early 2008.

This is a "teachable moment" for the ACLU, which has generally refrained from tackling issues of separation of mosque and state despite its war on Christianity and the separation of church and state. TiZA is an egregious violation of the separation of mosque and state, which is why the ACLU is suing the school. Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) is a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Charter schools are public schools, and by law must not endorse or promote religion. But TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.

TiZA shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food -- permissible under Islamic law -- and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.

Here is what one teacher at TiZA 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."

Katherine Kersten of the Star Tribune continues her seminal, brave and singular reporting TiZA vs. the search for truth. Here's an excerpt of her latest, read it all (hat tip George).
The school -- public, mind you -- tries to intimidate all who would challenge it.

In June 2010, the ACLU returned to court to quash what it described as yet another TiZA attempt to intimidate current and former employees from speaking about what they had seen at the public school. TiZA's "Staff Handbooks include a secrecy clause, and related threat of legal action for violating it," according to the ACLU's court filings. TiZA "wields [these provisions] as a sledgehammer to keep former employees quiet about what they saw at the school." As a result, "former TiZA employees have expressed fear about speaking to the ACLU."

According to the ACLU, TiZA's refusal to agree not to enforce the secrecy clause "sends the ominous signal that current and former employees who talk to the ACLU may be forced to defend themselves against a baseless, expensive lawsuit."

On Oct. 1, Judge Donovan Frank agreed -- affirming an order the ACLU had earlier won barring TiZA from enforcing the confidentiality clause in the context of this litigation.

The court's order and memorandum spoke volumes: "It appears that information related to TiZA's business, finances, operations and office procedures is public data and cannot be kept secret." "The relevant question ... is why TiZA, a public charter school, does not want to allow its former and current employees to participate in the informal discovery process to ascertain the truth about how TiZA operates."

The court's strong language in response to TiZA's actions was unusual: "[I]ntimidation and threats will not sit well with a fact-finder such as a jury." As a result of the school's actions, "[T]he Court may be required to draw adverse inferences about how TiZA operates as a result of TiZA's efforts to keep information about its operations secret. ... [TiZA's] behavior during the discovery process thus far ... has not been consistent with a good faith search for the truth."

The ACLU has characterized TiZA's recent actions regarding the secrecy clause as "only the last in a long line of intimidation efforts." Not quite. Last month, an attack was launched from a different front.

Several organizations that are not even parties to the lawsuit went to court in an attempt to disqualify the ACLU's lawyers -- Dorsey & Whitney -- from representing the ACLU on grounds that Dorsey personnel had previously communicated with Zaman about entities involved in the litigation. The organizations include the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MAS-MN), MAS-MN Property Holding Corporation and the Minnesota Education Trust (MET).

"The ACLU believes Mr. Zaman's testimony relating to control of virtually every significant event at TiZA, MAS-MN, MET and MET's subsidiaries, coupled with his efforts to hide such control, constitute powerful evidence against TiZA's denials that it is a Muslim school and that it funnels state and federal money to other Muslim organizations."

Every time we read about this lawsuit, we have to pinch ourselves and say: We're talking about a public, taxpayer-funded school.


Islamic students at top British university 'are preaching hard-line extremism,' terror experts warn

Think tank finds evidence of moderate Muslims being radicalised and Jewish students intimidated

Radical Islamic extremism is being openly practised at a leading university campus, a report today claimed. Think tank Quilliam said they had evidence of hard-line Islamist ideology being promoted through the leadership of the university's student Islamic Society at City University in central London.

The group had intimidated and harassed staff, students and members of minority groups, it was claimed.

The counter-extremism think tank said they had evidence of the president of City University's Islamic Society, (ISoc) openly preaching extremism during prayers held on the campus during the 2009/10 academic year. They said the president - Saleh Patel, was recorded saying: 'When they say to us 'the Islamic state teaches to cut the hand of the thief', yes it does! 'And it also teaches us to stone the adulterer.

'When they tell us that the Islamic state tells us and teaches us to kill the apostate, yes it does! 'Because this is what Allah and his messenger have taught us and this is the religion of Allah and it is Allah who legislates and only Allah has the right to legislate.'

'When a person leaves one prayer, one prayer intentionally, he should be imprisoned for three days and three nights and told to repent. 'And if he doesn't repent and offer his prayer then he should be killed. And the difference of opinion lies with regards to how he should be killed not as to what he is - a kafir or a Muslim'.

According to students interviewed for the report, the actions of leading members of the ISoc made members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society (LGBT) feel 'scared'.

Some Jewish students felt 'intimidated', and the group's actions forced ordinary Muslim students to adopt hard-line Islamic practices which led to some Muslim students publishing an open letter complaining that their religion had been 'hijacked' by the ISoc.

Report author Lucy James, said: 'It is deeply shocking that such extremism is being openly promoted on a university campus in central London. 'Such extremism can create dangerous divisions on campuses and, if not tackled, may even lead to terrorism. 'University heads need to recognise this problem and take the lead in tackling it.'

City University London Students' Union released a statement which read: 'The report raises a number of issues so the Students' Union will be in contact with the authors to review the evidence on which the report is based. 'The Students' Union works closely with the University to act in the best interest of its student body and wider University community.'

A spokeswoman for the university added: 'The University is committed to creating as many opportunities for people of different faiths (and indeed of no faith) to meet and engage in honest and respectful dialogue.

'The University and the Students' Union asks that all Students' Union Clubs and Societies - and any external speakers that they invite into the University - abide by its equality and diversity guidelines and values and behaviours.'

'The University works closely with its Students' Union and, on a number of occasions, has offered support to the Students' Union when the Islamic Society has been found to be in breach of these guidelines.

'The University and Students' Union are constantly reviewing their protocols, to ensure that they maintain an environment that is open and welcoming to staff and students.' [Sounds like lots of bulldust and no action]


An inspirational teacher is fired. So who will tell the truth about British schools now?

When deputy headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh took to the podium at the Tory Party conference earlier this month to speak about schooling, her remarks produced two dramatic results.

The first was that she electrified the conference by delivering some brutal home truths about the ­education system, which she denounced for betraying the poorest and most disadvantaged children.

These had been left high and dry by the prevalent ‘all must have prizes’ Left-wing education ideology, which under the banner of ‘equality’ had produced a ‘culture of excuses’ which kept ‘poor ­children poor’.

The second result was that she was promptly suspended from her Church of England school, St Michael and All Angels Academy in South London, on the grounds that she had used identifiable pupils to illustrate her argument and had insulted the teaching profession.

After an outcry, it was reported that Ms Birbalsingh would be returning to her position at the school. But now we learn that ‘following discussions’ she has resigned. The inescapable conclusion is that she has been forced out by the school’s governing body.

Since she had been denouncing Left-wing education ideology and her headteacher is reportedly an ardent ‘Blairite’, it is furthermore easy to jump to the conclusion — as several have indeed done — that she has been pushed out for saying the unsayable about the teaching profession. In other words, she is a martyr to dissent because the education ranks have closed against her in order to cover up the awful truth about education.

In her defence, it is also clear that the school’s sensitivities extend beyond any concern for its pupils, since it huffs that such a generalised attack on schooling can be seen as insulting to many teachers — the all-too-predictable defensive crouch of a profession which refuses to listen to ­necessary criticism.

For the fact is that everything she actually said was nothing other than the pure, unvarnished truth.

As was plain, her target was not the ­individual school but the system, and the way of thinking that has become the orthodoxy in the education world and to which all state schools — and no small number of independent schools, too — are in thrall.

As she so rightly said, exam standards are dumbing down virtually year by year. Even though children themselves are crying out for order and discipline, they don’t get it.

With competition turned into a dirty word, they aren’t allowed to compare their achievements even with their peers in other schools in the state sector, let alone with those in independent schools. So they are even deprived of knowing just how much they don’t know.

In a subsequent article for this newspaper, Ms ­Birbalsingh wrote that there was now a chronic lack of robustness in the classroom, reflected in the increasing use of coursework rather than exams.

Pupils could now get a meaningless BTEC in an invented subject such as ‘travel and tourism’ which was worth no fewer than four GCSEs — while ­modern languages, science or history were in decline simply because they were more demanding.

Her most savage accusations concerned black boys who under-achieve at school through a combination of chaos in the classroom and the demonisation as ‘racist’ of any teacher who dares ­discipline or exclude them.

For saying that ‘black children under-achieve because of what the well-meaning liberal does to them’, everyone should cheer her to the echo.

It’s also not just black boys who have been abandoned in this way, but all those at the bottom of the heap for which school is their one lifeline out of disadvantage.

Such home truths are practically unsayable in the state sector. Over the years, other educational whistle-blowers have been punished for saying them.

Some two decades ago Martin Turner, a distinguished psychologist and expert on dyslexia, was forced out of his job and had his reputation blackened for suggesting that many diagnosed classroom disorders were actually caused by a systemic failure to teach children to read.

And around the same time, two history teachers, Anthony Freeman and Chris McGovern, were driven out of their posts in state schools for attempting to ensure that children were taught a proper historical narrative as opposed to sociological, politically correct gobbets.

Over the years, all attempts at education reform have foundered because of the refusal by the education establishment to acknowledge the damage being done by the shibboleth of ‘equality’ which has brought the system to its knees.

As Ms Birbalsingh observed, teachers are so brainwashed by the Left that they reject any such thinking as ‘Right-wing’. That’s because the Left demonises any challenge to itself on the basis that its thinking embodies virtue itself.

So its ideas are given the status of holy writ, and a kind of secular inquisition is mounted against anyone who dares to question them.


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