I find the controversy surrounding the newly opened New York Arabic language school interesting, mainly because I'm finding it very hard to believe why this should be a controversy.
Khalil Gibran International Academy will teach Arabic language and Arabic culture. And since it is a public school (also funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), you do not have to have any Arab ethnicity or be a follower of Islam to attend, it is open for anyone.
There are basic core requirements for the standard subjects (as with any public school) and Arabic language and culture is also taught.
I believe this is a great opportunity for Arab-Americans to reconnect with their culture. However, some believe that it is a "breeding ground" for radical extremist thought.
There are two important factors that the opponents should consider before labeling it as a "breeding ground"......
1. It is named after "Khalil Gibran," who was a Lebanese Christian poet.
2. The current principal is Jewish
But some groups are still paranoid....
Stop the Madrassa Coalition has such important questions as:
What will be the reaction to someone eating a pork or ham sandwich if they are in proximity of one of KGIA’s students?Gosh, gee, I don't know. Hmmm... I'm guessing they will be jumped on or beheaded. Seriously, I can't believe that can be a real question to ponder over.
Will Halal food be served in the cafeteria?If it is, why is that a problem? In my highschool, we had fish on Lent days. Cafeterias should accommodate dietary restrictions.
The Thomas More Law Center (endorsed by Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Rick Santorum, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, enough said!) has more important questions on mind.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Council of the Law Center imagines the following conversation that will [supposedly] take place during lunch time...
"I wonder what they will be talking about? Will it be about Al Queda or Hamas, the Palestinian issue, Muslim versus Jew, Muslim versus Christian, anti-American diatribe, who knows?Yes, Richard, I'm sure all the 6th grade students would have those heavy issues on their minds, I'm sure they wouldn't talk about popular culture issues at all (because Arab-Americans are all just sly, undercover terrorists, right?) .....Actually, it would be great if more students engaged in some healthy diatribe, maybe the sedated youth population on the "War on Terror" would wake up. I also would like to point out how wonderful, vague "Palestinian issue" that was used.
Alert the protesters! I just found a picture of Robin Williams wearing shirt with the "terrorist language" in front of Old Glory. But he was raised a Christian....Doesn't matter! We all know he is a secret "breeding ground" for fundamentalism, right? Hey, wait a second, it says "I love New York!" (must be a secret message....)