An Inver Grove Heights charter school accused of promoting the Muslim faith filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.
The ACLU sued Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) in January, alleging that the school is endorsing religion in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The ACLU claims the public school has created a "pervasively sectarian" atmosphere by allowing Muslim prayer during school hours, letting teachers participate in student prayers and posting religious materials in the school, among other allegations. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, also claims the school is leasing space from a Muslim organization without following state law.
TiZA, which receives state funding, has said it's nonsectarian and in compliance with state and federal laws.
The school, which also has a location in Blaine, was founded in 2003 and is sponsored by Islamic Relief USA. It has about 430 students in grades K-8, most of them Muslim.
In addition to TiZA, the suit names the school's directors, its sponsor and the Minnesota Department of Education, which failed to detect and stop the alleged violations, the ACLU claims.
The Education Department also filed a motion Tuesday to be dropped from the ACLU's case, arguing that the U.S. Constitution's 11th Amendment bars a federal court from deciding claims about state law brought against a state agency.