Theodore's World: Minnesota Muslim Public School Paid For By Taxpayers

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April 10, 2008

Minnesota Muslim Public School Paid For By Taxpayers

Wall of silence broken at state's Muslim public school

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Recently, I wrote about Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights. 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.

TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school.

* It 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.

Zaman maintains that TIZA is not a religious school. He declined, however, to allow me to visit the school to see for myself, "due to the hectic schedule for statewide testing." But after I e-mailed him that the Minnesota Department of Education had told me that testing would not begin for several weeks, Zaman did not respond -- even to urgent calls and e-mails seeking comment before my first column on TIZA.

Now, however, an eyewitness has stepped forward. Amanda Getz of Bloomington is a substitute teacher. She worked as a substitute in two fifth-grade classrooms at TIZA on Friday, March 14. Her experience suggests that school-sponsored religious activity plays an integral role at TIZA.

Arriving on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, she says she was told that the day's schedule included a "school assembly" in the gym after lunch.

Before the assembly, she says she was told, her duties would include taking her fifth-grade students to the bathroom, four at a time, to perform "their ritual washing."

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."

After school, Getz's fifth-graders stayed in their classroom and the man in white who had led prayer in the gym came in to teach Islamic

Studies. TIZA has in effect extended the school day -- buses leave only after Islamic Studies is over.

Getz did not see evidence of other extra-curricular activity, except for a group of small children playing outside. Significantly, 77 percent of TIZA parents say that their "main reason for choosing TIZA ... was because of after-school programs conducted by various non-profit organizations at the end of the school period in the school building," according to a TIZA report. TIZA may be the only school in Minnesota with this distinction.

Why does the Minnesota Department of Education allow this sort of religious activity at a public school? According to Zaman, the department inspects TIZA regularly -- and has done so "numerous times" -- to ensure that it is not a religious school.

But the department's records document only three site visits to TIZA in five years -- two in 2003-04 and one in 2007, according to Assistant Commissioner Morgan Brown. None of the visits focused specifically on religious practices.

For the rest of the article you can go HERE

Kersten requested a visit to the school to see for herself, that visit was declined by TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

According to the US Department of Education is a written statement it says:

The guidance clarifies the rights of students to pray in public schools. As stated in the guidance, "...the First Amendment forbids religious activity that is sponsored by the government but protects religious activity that is initiated by private individuals" such as students. Therefore, "[a]mong other things, students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities." Public schools should not be hostile to the religious rights of their students and their families.

At the same time, school officials may not "compel students to participate in prayer or other religious activities." Nor may teachers, school administrators and other school employees, when acting in their official capacities as representatives of the state, encourage or discourage prayer, or participate in such activities with students.

Students are allowed to pray, but the school is not allowed to force them nor "encourage" them to do so.

This makes the substitutes teacher's witnessing the students being required to go to the prayer assembly and well as the school officials pushing them to do, illegal under the law.

Wild Thing's comment........

Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), named for the Muslim conquerer of Spain. General Tarek ibn Ziyad's bloody battle marked the beginning of the Muslim rule of Spain in the eighth century. chiefly remembered for one incident in particular. Landing in Spain, he ordered the Muslim forces' boats to be burned, and then told his soldiers: "Brothers in Islam! We now have the enemy in front of us and the deep sea behind us. We cannot return to our homes, because we have burnt our boats. We shall now either defeat the enemy and win or die a coward's death by drowning in the sea. Who will follow me?" The soldiers, crying "Allahu akbar," rushed ahead and defeated a vastly superior Spanish force.

Does the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy represent the same idea for those who founded it and now operate it?

....Thank you Lynn for sending this to me.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 03:48 AM


What really burns me up is that they claim this is a public school so they can get tax payer money!
This is NOT a public school and does NOT fall under it.
This is how they took Europe. They are a very patient people--assimilation can take many years by doing things just like this.
And we're letting it happen! How stupid are we, really? Time for fighting back is now!
I hope someone takes this to the Minnesota lawmakers and shows them exactly that TIZA does not deserve public funding.

Posted by: Lynn at April 10, 2008 08:19 AM

Where's the ACLU?? I guess maybe the ACLU only gets involved when it's something concerning Christianity. I bet the ACLU is scared to take on the Muslims.

Posted by: BobF at April 10, 2008 08:59 AM

One of several rules of islam at work here, denial. Deny that religious activity and teaching is taking place. This is happening at muslim schools all over America.

Minnesota is a very liberal state and is a fertile field for large numbers of muslims to establish their political power. They have the first muslim member of Congress. Minnesota is a lesson in the shortcomings, dangers and failings of liberalism.

Posted by: TomR at April 10, 2008 10:32 AM

Lynn me too. I am really ticked about paying taxes for public schools like this one and another kind too that keep forcing their hate America agenda on kids.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 12:10 PM

Bob you're so right. The ACLU could care less if it is anything bashing Christians. Maybe they are afraid of the Muslims like you say, but in my heart I think they are for them more then agaisnt them.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 12:11 PM

Tom yes, it jsut shocks me how Minn. is so pro things about Islam on every level. I bet a lot of peoople like us have moved out of that State after what they see has been happening there. I sure would.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 12:13 PM

I seem to recall, when I was in high school, public schools in Salt Lake City getting into BIG trouble for making non-Mormon children take classes in Mormonism. Parents were so up in arms, it wasn't funny at all.

Posted by: Lynn at April 10, 2008 12:39 PM

Bible study groups have been kicked out of public schools -- can't make a kid say the Pledge 'cause the name "God" is in it -- students are forced to attend sex education clases that clash with their religious beliefs or risk not graduating -- kids are forbidden to wear religious pins/jewelry to class -- THESE are items the ACLU has put their little, grubby hand into, but you will not see them raise a finger to stop this Islamic cancer from spreading. Dark days are getting closer.

Posted by: PeteSuj at April 10, 2008 02:12 PM

Where else but Minnesota, the same state that elected Jesse 'the Body' Ventura as governor. the same nitwit who thinks the 9-11 attack was an inside job. Ventura said yesterday that the twin towers fell faster than gravity. Now there is a genius.

But as everyone has been saying where is the ACLU charging separation of Church and State. And as usual the taxpayers are footing the bill.

Why hasn't Obama said anything about this...Hmmm. could there be a connection...Naaaawwwww.

Posted by: Mark at April 10, 2008 03:33 PM

If you think that things are bad now, what do you think will happen if we have a President Barack Hussein Obama or President Hillary Clinton and Democrats controlling both houses of Congress by large margins?

Oooooops! I said the "P" word followed by Obama and Clinton. I have to wash my mouth with soap.

Posted by: Les at April 10, 2008 07:03 PM

Lynn, thanks for the story and the added input too. This is what concerns me a lot and that this kind of thing will spread to other States and other schools.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 07:25 PM

PeteSuj, oh man that REALLY ticks me off about the Pledge too and the rest of it as well.
Every single school no matter what it is should have the Pledge and the kids says it too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 07:26 PM

Mark, Obama probably is a happy camper about this kind of thing.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 07:28 PM

Les, LMAO oh nooooo not the "P" word when you say Obama or Hillary. Not that. haha

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 10, 2008 07:30 PM


Posted by: drstrangeloveb52isok at April 11, 2008 01:01 AM

drstrangeloveb52isok, good one! I bet those teams wish they weren't in Minnasoootah.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 11, 2008 04:45 AM