Tags: Abdalla Al-Shabnan, conviction in failure to report child abuse matter, conviction on misdemeanor in Fairfax County, Islamic Saudi Academy, Islamist Textbooks, Washington Post
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The director general of a controversial private Islamic school in Fairfax County has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse and fined $500.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, head of the Islamic Saudi Academy on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, was arrested last month by Fairfax police, who said Al-Shabnan had been informed of the possible sexual abuse of a 5-year-old student at the school. School authorities are required by law to report alleged child abuse within 72 hours.
Al-Shabnan was charged with misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse and obstruction of justice. He pleaded no contest July 24 to the failure to report charge, and Fairfax prosecutors agreed to dismiss the obstruction charge, according to court records.
Al-Shabnan did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday. His attorney, Robert C. Whitestone, said, “We thought it was a fair resolution.”
The Islamic Saudi Academy has come under criticism because some of its textbooks contain passages that extol jihad and martyrdom, call for victory over one’s enemies and say the killing of adulterers and apostates is justified. The academy has rented the school from Fairfax County since 1984, and the county recently renewed its lease for three years.
Protesters picketed the school last month, saying it promotes religious intolerance. The county has asked the State Department to review the school’s texts.
Cultural differences might have led to the episode that resulted in Al-Shabnan’s arrest. A police affidavit filed last month said that detectives learned in May that the 5-year-old girl attended the academy’s West Campus on Popes Head Road, just south of Fairfax City, and her sexual abuse allegations had been reported to the school’s administrators. No report was made to any state agency.
Detectives interviewed the girl and then visited Al-Shabnan, who said he “did not believe her complaint and felt she may be attempting to gain attention,” according to the affidavit by Detective Doug Comfort.
Al-Shabnan told police that he met with the child’s parents and advised them to seek counseling for the girl. Al-Shabnan then reportedly told the detectives that he “was not aware that he was required to make such a report” to child protective agencies, Comfort wrote. Police also found that Al-Shabnan had “ordered the written report deleted from the computer” of the school.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Ian M. Rodway said the plea agreement “was satisfactory to all the people involved in the case.”
Tags: Abdalla Al-Shabnan, Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Gerry Connolly, Islamic Saudi Academy, Supervisor Gross, Supervisor Hyland
Islamic Saudi Academy Director Arrested for Obstruction of Justice
June 16, 2008
On June 9th, Fairfax County Police arrested the Director General of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA), Mr. Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, on the charges of Obstruction of Justice without Force (VA Code 18.2-460). Charged and released on the same day, Mr. Al-Shabnan is out on his own recognizance as he awaits his first hearing at Fairfax County General District Court on August 1, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.
Mr. Al-Shaban’s arrest stems from an investigation into the ISA’s alleged failure to comply with State requirements for reporting child abuse. According to authorities, instead of reporting the child abuse, Mr. Al-Shabnan deleted the report, contacted the student’s parents, and recommended psychological counseling for the young victim. Mr. Al-Shaban’s June 9 arrest comes after a May 23rd police search of the ISA where they gathered evidence that has contributed to the charges against Mr. Al-Shabnan.
Years of Controversy Continue
The ISA has been at the center of controversy for many years. A 2007 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report recommended to the State Department to call for the closure of the school. The 2007 USCIRF report prompted a coalition of concerned grassroots organizations to request the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to delay the renewal of the ISA lease until a Federal investigation into the ISA was completed. During the May 19 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hearing, County Supervisors dismissed concerns as slanderous, bigoted, and unfounded. During the course of the hearing, Gerald Connolly, Fairfax County Chairman and Democratic Candidate for the 11th Congressional District, apologized to Mr. Al-Shabnan for what he deemed slanderous accusations that impugned the integrity of the Islamic Saudi Academy.
Since that May 19 hearing, the Mr. Al-Shabnan has been arrested and the USCIRF has confirmed ISA textbooks justify murder as an Islamic right.
Only Supervisor Gross has responded to the issue, and she continues her support for the ISA, and its textbooks that contain passages filled with hate and incitement to violence. Chairman Connolly has yet to retract his apology to the ISA and Mr. Al-Shabnan. Supervisor Hyland has not yet commented on whether the texts cited in the USCIRF report are the similar to those he identified as “texts of concern” during his independent and undocumented investigation of the ISA.
These hateful passages remain despite a 2006 US State Department request for the ISA to remove all insensitive and offensive content from textbooks. The ISA’s non-compliance with the 2006 US State Department request has not been accounted for and raises concerns about what the ISA, as an extension of the Saudi government, considers offensive, and the level of accountability they have to their local hosts and Federal government.
Since the US Treasury Department still considers Saudi Arabia as one of the leading financiers of terrorism, and USCIRF reports identify Saudi Arabia’s education as filled with incitements to murder as a religious freedom, the US State Department has not commented as to whether they will extend this policy and allow Iran and North Korea to open official schools in the US as well.
The ISA has run afoul of Virginia law before in hiring a bus driver, Abdelrazeg Abdalla, who had a suspended license, seven traffic violations, a misdemeanor for kidnapping his wife and child at knife point, and a six month detainment by Homeland Security. Nevertheless, the ISA hired Mr. Abdalla as a bus driver. Mr. Abdalla, operating a faulty ISA, bus was responsible for a 2005 multi-car accident.
Additionally, the ISA winner of the superlative Most Likely to Be a Martyr, and 1999 class valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, has been convicted on charges of terrorism and attempting to assassinate President Bush.
As a result for the a May 19 hearing, the ISA’s lease of Fairfax County property continues for another year, as the Board of Supervisors unanimously supports the ISA as a model school beyond reproach.
A video of the complete May 19 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Hearing on the Islamic Saudi Academy can be found at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cable/channel16/vod.htm
Select “Public Hearings” from the May 19 links.
42:58 Fairfax County Chairman Connolly charges of slander remarks
49:35 Supervisor Gross: Latin can be violent and Parochial Schools contain material as equally offensive as the ISAs.
1:02 Supervisor Hyland begins testimony about why and how they’re is no documentation on his investigation.