May 20, 2008

Update On Islamic Schools You Pay For

By Jan Markell

Some of you remember the Minnesota taxpayer-funded school I reported on months ago that had all the Islamic trappings. This is a follow up and a "where is the outrage?" column. Let me refresh your memory briefly and bring you up to date. I still fear my great state of Minnesota could become the late-great state of Minnesota.

The Tarik ibn Zayad Academy (TIZA) is a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Charter schools are public schools and by law must not endorse or promote religion. Evidence suggests, however, that TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers. A substitute teacher blew the whistle.

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

The teacher said, "The prayer I saw was not voluntary. The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred." She also noted the kids were studying the Koran. School buses did not leave until all "Islamic Studies" were over.

The Minnesota Department of Education says it has visited the school on numerous occasions and nothing seems troubling here. Give me a break! Let Christians pray at the end of the day, and they will be thrown into one of our ten thousand lakes and left to drown!

But there are taxpayers troubled in this chilly state, so in an attempt to report about new findings this week, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS (KSTP) went to TIZA. While on school grounds, the crew was attacked by school officials. The KSTP photographer was injured while wrestling with two men over the camera. He suffered shoulder and back injuries.

The TIZA focuses on Middle Eastern culture and shares a building with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. It is an Islamic public school. It has now had an all-out fight with a news crew trying to better inform the public about this situation we are praying for.

All a spokesman on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Education would say is, "The Minnesota Department of Education goes to great lengths to make clear to charter schools and their sponsors that, while schools should appropriately accommodate students' religious beliefs, they must be 'nonsectarian' under the state's charter school law." Yet this scenario has been going on way too long and should have been shut down a year ago. Now more Islamic-oriented schools are springing up here at the expense of Minnesota citizens.

A school like this is likely coming to a neighborhood near you. It will thrive unless you as a taxpayer blow the whistle and demand action against these outfits. The leader of the one being reported on in the Twin Cities' suburb was challenged about not flying the American flag. He said he didn't know how to operate the flag pole! As long as we continue to look the other way, Islamic charter (public) schools will start to flourish in America, and you will pay for it. Contact your educational authorities.

And you can bet in their prayer time, they are not saying the Lord's Prayer. They are not pledging allegiance to the American flag. But they are serving halal food and doing "ritual washings."

Be outraged or be next.