State Dept. stands aside on Fairfax County lease to ISA

July 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Fairfax Board of Supervisors, Islamic Saudi Academy, Islamist Textbooks | 1 Comment
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The U.S. State Department has left it up to Fairfax County whether to continue leasing county buildings to the Islamic Saudi Academy, a local Islamic school that has operated in Alexandria and Fairfax for more than 20 years.

Textbooks used by ISA were recently found by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to promote religious intolerance and violence.

“The [State Department] has not objected to the [Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia] leasing the property in question for the Academy,” reads the letter to Fairfax Board chairman Gerry Connolly on behalf of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Although the county board voted in May to renew the school’s lease, they reconsidered after the allegations by the USCIRF were released. Since the school is leased through the Saudi Arabian government, Fairfax asked the State Department to weigh in, a request that agency has now denied.

“No authorization from the Department to renew the lease is required,” the federal response reads, putting the ball firmly in Fairfax County’s court.

As of press time, county supervisors had not indicated what their next step might be.

At the academy, school is out for the summer, but the controversy has created a lot of work for school officials, who have worked to create new textbooks without offending passages in time for the coming school year. The new textbooks have been sent out to Islamic studies professors at several American universities for review.

“They’re checking the new books over with this issue in mind,” said ISA Director of Education Rahima Abdullah, referring to the controversial passages.

According to Abdullah, the school is not sure which passages in the old textbooks the USCIRF specifically referred to, but hopes the review will eliminate future problems. Many passages of the school’s old textbooks, which were provided by Saudi Arabia, were not taught at the school, Abdullah said.

The older books included “some extremely troubling passages that do not conform to international human rights norms,” according to USCIRF.

“We don’t teach hate or intolerance,” said Abdullah, whose three children attended the Saudi Academy.

USCIRF Director Judith Ingram said that new books without the controversial language would fix the problem “as long as the new books were publicly available. … They have to be able to be verified.”

The ISA has its hopes set on the upcoming school year, when “the new textbooks will hopefully be ready in time” and the school won’t have to deal with the protesters who marched outside its gates at the close of the last school year, while students were taking their final exams.


Stand and Deliver the ‘Clean books’, Islamic Saudi Academy

June 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Shariah | Leave a comment
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Stand and Deliver the ‘Clean books’, Islamic Saudi Academy

by Jerry Gordon, American Congress for Truth blog

20080617-215832-pic-157543443_r350×200.jpgThere was a flurry of news articles on yesterday’s protest demonstration at the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Alexandria, Virginia. The Washington Post, entitled its version, “Group Says School Teaches “hate”, the Washington Times headlined theirs, “Islamic school draws fire”. Both pieces drew attention to the basis for protests, the Islamic hate texts revealed in the USCIRF report. The group of 15 protesters had signs that said:

    Honk to Stop Islamic Terrorism;

    This Saudi school is Anti-Semitic and Anti-Christian.

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Traditional Values Coalition organized the ISA protest with participation by the United American Committee, Virginia Chapter, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy (CSP) and Act! for America Virginia and Maryland volunteers.

Lafferty commented:

    They’re free to come here and worship, but they are not free to come here and teach hate.

Christine Brim of the CSP said:

    They don’t have a First Amendment right in this country to incite violence against other groups.

Rahima Abdullah, the ISA education director replied to these allegations:

    That’s absolutely not true. What we teach here is love and and tolerance.
    We have new books now and the ones the commission is talking about have been out of use for some time, and were misinterpreted, then.

But the focus of both articles was on the arrest and charging of the school director general, Abdalla Al-Shabnan with not reporting a claim of child abuse of a five year old pre-school student by a family member that required him to file an incident report under Commonwealth of Virginia law. As we have posted in the AP story, Al-Shaban neglected to file a report in a timely manner within 72 hours as prescribed by law. Further, he ordered the written report of incident deleted from a secretary’s computer thereby resulting in a charge of obstruction of justice. Al-Shabnan faces a hearing on August 1st. If convicted, he could face a possible 12 month jail sentence. As noted in the Washington Times :

    Fairfax County Police searched school offices last month and seized computers, notebooks, student files and disks.

Neither Mr. Al-Shabnan or school officials would comment. Shabnan wasn’t returning calls.

It was left to the account to question whether the ISA was cleaning up its act in a headline: “Islamic Saudi Academy Prepares “Clean” Books for Fall”.

‘Clean’ books on Wahhabi doctrine means expunging many elements of the canon of Islam, the Qu’ran, Hadiths, the sayings, and the Sira, the biography of Mohammed the Messenger of Allah, as well as, the basic elements of Shari’a Law the bedrock of Wahhabism. Seems to us there would be much left to read in the ISA Islamic studies course, if that were the case. The report had several revelatory exchanges with school officials, State Department and USCIRF spokespersons.

Judth Ingraham, spokesperson for the USCRIF indicated that the State Department didn’t turn over textbooks that the Saudi Embassy had turned over to State and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The USCIRF had to resort to obtaining them from other sources, including Members of Congress. In 2006, the Saudi government said it would “revise and update textbooks to remove remaining refernces that disparage [Shia and other] Muslims or promote hatred towards other religions”. queried the State Department and got this bizarre response:

    “Since they’re already made public [ on the Saudi Ministry of Education Web site] we don’t need to duplicate them on our web site or give them to ( the Commission) because they’ve already been put out in the public domain”.

Then the logical question was why did the USCRIF have to scramble and use other means to obtain these allegedly public documents. Typical State Department bafflegab.

A spokesman for ISA, a U.S. history teacher, David Kovalik was shown these wordings from an ISA textbook and agreed that they were offensive:

    The cause of discord. The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed islam infiltrated (the Muslims).

Kovalick’s response was:

    Well, that is very anti-semitic and uh, wow, no but those don’t exist in our books.

I guess the reporters forgot to ask Kovalick whether he could read Arabic. Because, he looks like a dhimmi engaging in pre-pacakgedtaqiyyah-religiously sanctioned dissimilitude to fool the ‘infidel’, us.

When State was questioned about its own investigation, the result was more bafflegab from their spokesperson.

    We’re continuing to review the hard copy ones received, and we’re working with the Saudi government. But they are taking place. This is a priority, it’s not something that we’ve slipped under the rug.

Sounds like a Freudian slip to me.

Then an ISA official indicated that “the books will not include controversial subject matter” but will still teach Islam. That’s a virtual impossibility given the analysis of the canon of Islam by analysts like Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam.

With doubtless tongue in cheek, USCIRF spokeperson, Ingram said:

    If that’s true, we are working toward the same goal. Let’s start the school year off on the right foot, with ‘clean’ textbooks.

What was the famous cry of English Highwaymen of the 18th century confronting frightened stage coach passengers? Applied in this instance it would be ’stand and deliver’, ISA.

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