Monday, May 21, 2007
[An Arab-language school] appears to be a marvelous idea, for New York and the country need native-born Arabic speakers. They have a role in the military, diplomacy, intelligence, the courts, the press, the academy, and many other institutions -- and teaching languages to the young is the ideal route to polyglotism. As someone who spent years learning Arabic, I am enthusiastic in principle about the idea of this school, one of the first of its kind in America.Pipes cites other examples as well as the general expectation among many Arab language instructors that their students are interested in converting to Islam. He then discusses a few of the individuals involved in this new school, in particular, its designated principal.
In practice, however, I strongly oppose the KGIA [Khalil Gibran International Academy, serving grades six through 12 --ed] and predict that its establishment will generate serious problems. I say this because Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage. Some examples:
Franck Salameh taught Arabic at the most prestigious American language school, Middlebury College in Vermont. In a column for the Middle East Quarterly, he wrote: "even as students leave Middlebury with better Arabic, they also leave indoctrinated with a tendentious Arab nationalist reading of Middle Eastern history. Permeating lectures and carefully-designed grammatical drills, Middlebury instructors push the idea that Arab identity trumps local identities and that respect for minority ethnic and sectarian communities betrays Arabism."
"Arabs or Muslims, [Dhabah] Almontaser says, are innocent of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: "I don't recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims." Instead, she blames September 11 on Washington's foreign policies, saying they "can have been triggered by the way the USA breaks its promises with countries across the world, especially in the Middle East, and the fact that it has not been a fair mediator."I have stated numerous times here my objections to public education, but the idea of forcing the people of New York City -- which was attacked by Moslem Arabs in 2001 -- to pay human refuse like like Almontaser to educate children there is particularly obscene. It seems that every time I think public education has bottomed out, it finds a new low.
At a community meeting with the New York Police Department commissioner, she berated the NYPD for using "FBI tactics" when informants were used to prevent a subway bombing, thereby polarizing the Muslim community. For Ms. Almontaser, it appears, preventing terrorism counts less than soothing Muslim sensibilities.
Rewarding these views, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a foreign-funded front organization, in 2005 bestowed an honor on Ms. Almontaser for her "numerous contributions" to the protection of civil liberties.
The Sun includes other related articles here.