We wrote at length here about the lawsuit brought by the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) against the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy when the lawsuit was filed this past January. TiZA is a K-8 charter school located in suburuban St. Paul. The MCLU alleges that the school operates illegally as a sectarian institution on public funds. TiZA has brought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on procedural grounds, asserting that the MCLU lacks standing to raise its claims.
One might say that TiZA is an Islamic school in all but name, except that the name is of course Islamic. The MCLU investigated the school as a result of columns by then-metro columnist (and my friend) Katherine Kersten in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Today in a column on the Star Tribune editorial page Kersten takes a look at the MCLU lawsuit pending in Minnesota federal district court.
The MCLU complaint is posted in PDF here. The MCLU has posted a related organization chart here. These documents are an important contribution to the story on which Kersten originally blew the whistle.
It is a shocking story. Muslim activists have found a workable seam in the purported separation of church and state in Minnesota. One does not need to engage in much speculation to foresee the day when Minnesota's burgeoning Muslim population will be educated in separate charter schools like the Twin Cities International Elementary School at taxpayers' expense.
If TiZA were to prevail on its defense that the MCLU lacks standing to prosecute the lawsuit, taxpayers opposing the public funding of Islamic schools would have little recourse but to support repeal of the charter school system. The MCLU lawsuit should in any event have the effect of inspiring a serious look at the rest of the Twin Cities Muslim-oriented charter schools and on the constellation of Islamist forces at work in Minnesota.