Somewhere, Katherine Kersten is smiling. I know some of my conservative readers are.
Many emails today chortling over the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, the Arabic-language charter school Kersten repeatedly accused of inculcating Islam. The Strib's story today quotes ACLU-Minnesota head Chuck Samuelson crediting her columns for his investigation.
Unlike Kersten, Samuelson is consistent on the subject of religious influence on education. He's an experienced lawsuit-filer, and the complaint (PDF) contains a welter of worrisome detail, including the interlocking directorships of TIZA and its religious-oriented sponsors.
There's also plenty of warmed-over stuff the state Department of Education already looked at and either waved off or directed the school to fix. One of the ACLU's claims (and Kersten's after the DOE largely exonerated TIZA) is that the state didn't properly play watchdog. Why didn't Tim Pawlenty's Ed Department didn't want to ring up a Muslim school? Assuming they looked the other way, perhaps so charters sponsored by Christian groups don't get rung up. Be careful what you wish for, cultural conservatives.
The flip side of Kersten's hypocrisy is my own. My critics have asserted I'd pounce if this was a Christian school, not a Muslim one. But Muslim schools have few friends in the power structure, unlike Christian conservatives in state administration, so it's a little hard for me to believe everyone would cut them slack. Reading the complaint, I can't help wonder if the circumstances will prove out, and if they actually violate the law.
The nice thing about the ACLU's suit is that a court, not the court of public opinion, will weigh in; it's perhaps the only way we'll resolve this once and for all.