FAIRFAX, Va. - Some Fairfax County residents are fighting a controversial Islamic school's planned expansion because of what they say is taught behind closed doors.
The Islamic Saudi Academy claims it has revised controversial textbooks by removing references to jihad, killing infidels and hatred toward Jews and Christians.
"My kids have one goal," said Max Najib, an Academy parent. "When they go to school it's to learn and nothing else."
Still, critics aren't convinced. They say the texts promote intolerance and hate and now they're doing everything they can to stop the school from expanding.
On Wednesday night, school officials went before the Fairfax County Planning Board asking them to allow the academy to consolidate their two campuses into one larger renovated building for their more than 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The Islamic Saudi Academy says it needs to expand. But as it grows, so does the controversy surrounding it.
The 25-year-old school became a target after the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2005, a former valedictorian was convicted of joining Al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate the president and in 2008, the school's former director was convicted of failing to support a suspected case of child sex abuse.
Then, a U.S. government commission released a report saying passages in school textbooks promoted hate.
"There was a justification to kill adulterers or those who are unbelievers. In another case it said that the blood of infidels could be spilled," said Dwight Bashir of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
As the Fairfax County Board heard the school's plans Wednesday night, it also received an earful from residents.
"If there is more homegrown terrorism out of this school, it will be on the heads of every planning commissioner, on the head of every board of supervisor of Fairfax County," said Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.
"Our concern is the same that it's always been -- that the teachings at the Islamic Saudi Academy are anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic," added Jim Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.
The Fairfax County board says the school's curriculum is out of their hands. Last year, they called on the State Department to review the texts. In a statement released Wednesday, the State Department said it has not reviewed the new textbooks that the school says it has revised.