A nonprofit organization with links to a charter school accused of promoting Islam is battling the state over sponsorship of a different school in Morton, Minn.

The group, Minnesota Education Trust (MET), has applied to oversee at least five new or existing charter schools since 2008, but it has been rejected by the state Education Department every time.

The group has taken the dispute to Ramsey County District Court, where a hearing is set for Thursday, in its quest to compel state officials to approve a recent sponsorship proposal. MET seeks to oversee Eci' Nompa Woonspe', a small Morton charter school that emphasizes American Indian culture.

The Education Department denied the application because a new state law forbids religious groups from sponsoring charter schools, and MET has a "sectarian nature and mission," state Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said in a letter to the group last week.

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