A group of charter school, religious and black community leaders called Wednesday for the state to end what it called unfair scrutiny of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA).

The half-dozen people who spoke at a news conference at the State Capitol alleged that critics -- especially the state Department of Education -- have targeted the Inver Grove Heights charter school because most of its students are minority group members and Muslim.

The heavy scrutiny amounts to "a high-tech lynching," said Eric Mahmoud, executive director of Harvest Preparatory, a Minneapolis charter school. Mahmoud pointed out that TiZA students have scored well on standardized tests even though many come from poor families.

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