An Islamic charity claims a school board insurer owes it $1.2 million for a lawsuit the charity lost, involving its publicly funded Islamic charter school.
Islamic Relief USA sued the Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust, in Minneapolis Federal Court.
Islamic Relief sponsored the public charter school, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy.
Because Minnesota requires charter schools to have a third-party sponsor, Islamic Relief, a nonprofit based in Alexandria, Va., offered to sponsor the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, which the lawsuit refers to as TiZA.
When or why Minnesota agreed to certify an unconstitutional charter school dedicated to a single religion is not mentioned in the 9-page lawsuit.
But, as could have been expected, the ACLU sued TiZa and Islamic Relief in 2009, claiming that they unconstitutionally, "'set school policies that endorse and promote a single religion' and 'used tax funds to sponsor and establish a school that is pervasively sectarian,'" the new complaint states, quoting from the ACLU complaint.
"The Underlying Lawsuit sought to require TiZA and IRUSA to, among other things, 'correct and eliminate' TiZA's "'establishments of religion,'" Islamic Relief says in its complaint.
The complaint continues: "Some of the establishments of religion that the Underlying Lawsuit sought to require TiZA and IRUSA to correct and eliminate as a result of the civil rights violations included a prayer that was prominently posted in the school's entryway and a prayer rug used primarily for religious purposes."
Islamic Relief claims that the Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust is obligated to defend it from the ACLU lawsuit.
Islamic Relief says it settled with the ACLU on Jan. 31, 2011. It claims that it spent more than $1 million on legal fees in that case, and agreed to pay the ACLU of Minnesota $267,500. The complaint does not state what that money was for, though presumably it was ACLU's legal fees.
Now Islamic Relief claims the School Boards Association Insurance Trust breached contract by refusing to indemnify it for the costs of the ACLU case, and the costs of the new case.
It is represented by Sarah Bushnell of Minneapolis.