“Dual-language classes give U.S. an edge,” read the headline of an AP story printed last Tuesday in the right-wing Washington Times, lauding New York City’s 67 schools that offer instruction in English plus immersion in a foreign language to student bodies comprised of about half native English speakers and half children with a background in the other language. The two-way immersion approach has not been without pedagogical controversy, but programs in French, Spanish, Chinese, Creole, and other languages have not produced widespread criticism. That changed with the proposal of a dual-language program for Arabic.
The Kahlil Gibran International Academy opened last week following months of backlash from commentators such as Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for the conservative New York Sun. A New York City-based group called Stop the Madrassa formed and some Religious Right groups joined in, warning that the school would become a training ground for Islamist extremism.
“Step Aside, English-Speaking Christians,” warned Rod Parsley’s Center for Moral Clarity, claiming the school will “indoctrinate young people in customs of a racist, sexist and intolerant culture.” The Catholic League held a rally to protest the school, and joined Stop the Madrassa to form a group to counter the teaching of “Islamic culture.” And the Thomas More Law Center’s Richard Thompson declared that the school “is a Trojan horse” for “homegrown terrorists”:
This proposed public school is nothing more than an incubator for the radicalization that leads to terrorism … Rather than use the public school system to assimilate Muslims and other immigrants into American culture, New York City is doing everything it can to keep them isolated – a target rich environment for recruiting potential new homegrown terrorists and a recipe for a future 911 disaster, according to my read of the NYPD Report.
As uncomfortable as it makes one feel, we must understand that the political goal of radical Islam is to destroy our Judeo-Christian culture. And the KGIA is a Trojan Horse New York City is building for radical Islam with taxpayer money.
Problems caused by the limited number of Arabic-speaking Americans in Iraq have been widely reported. That may be why the federal government offers funding for K-12 instruction in Arabic, Chinese, and other critical foreign languages. The Gibran Academy’s curriculum, posted online, shows standard social studies and math along with Arabic language instruction. Nevertheless, opponents remain committed to their apprehensions: “The burden to prove that it’s not a madrassa is on them…” as one member of Stop the Madrassa said.