April 10, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - A grassroots organization, concerned with halting the incremental Islamization of American education, the Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition - has called for the closing of the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Grove Heights, Minnesota, pending an investigation, because it appears to be functioning as a madrassah, a Muslim religious school.
The Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy [TIZA] is a taxpayer-funded charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade pupils. However, Amanda Getz of Bloomington, Minnesota a substitute teacher at the institution has been quoted in recent news reports [see, http://www.startribune.com/local/17406054.html] claiming that TIZA is no simple charter school but is in fact abusing taxpayer funds and violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution because it is operating as an Islamic religious school.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten, who broke the story, wrote in a April 9, 2008 column:
"...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..."
Kersten reports that the school offers extra-curricular classes on the Qu'ran and Sunnah, has a carpeted, designated prayer space, and has students observe Muslim holidays. All of the school's students reportedly must fast during Ramadan.
The Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition is calling on Minnesota elected officials and the Minnesota Department of Education to investigate this academy which seems to be in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and appears to be, at public expense, sponsoring Islamic prayer and religious studies.