Monday, August 20, 2007

I have just heard about the Debbie Almontaser fiasco via RAWI.

Almontaser was the principal of an Arabic-language school, which includes Arab and non-Arab students who want to be bilingual. The school itself has been under attack by peaceful, civil-rights defendants such as Daniel Pipes and Fox News and an organization called "Stop the Madrassa" (Madrassa means school; guess you'd have to know Arabic-- or learn it at an Arabic Language school-- to know that) which has called the school "badly managed and inflammatory."

When Almontaser was seen at a non-school function for the Arab Women Active in Art and Media, wearing a T-shirt (which the function sold to its members) that says, "Intifada NYC," she was attacked and forced to resign.

From RAWI: "RAWI views this intense pressure and Almontaser's subsequent resignation as symptoms of pervasive anti-Arab racism in the United States through which nonviolent, workaday Arabic terms have been stigmatized with sinister, albeit nonsensical, connotations."

Amen. I would also add that it's interesting that it's offensive to wear a T shirt with the word Intifada, which signifies the days in 1987 when Palestinians threw rocks at tanks and soldiers during a time when flying the Palestinian flag got you shot, while wearing IDF (Israeli Defense Force) t shirts is considered cool.



This is obviously about racists being against and afraid of Arabic and Islam being introduced in the schools. They were waiting for the principal or anyone involved to make a mistake, and I believe they won't stop until the whole school shuts down. Too bad, because its doors are opening this year.

Read Debbie's sweet article on moving to the US and working towards building understanding between NYC's non-Muslim and Muslim residents.

Listen to her talk on NPR last year about how she became a vocal activist for American understanding of Muslims in the U.S.


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