View Full Version : Critics Cost Muslim Educator Her Dream School

29 Apr 08,, 05:07

It is very sad that innuendo, out of context reporting and the internet combined leave no space for rational discussion in the public sphere.

29 Apr 08,, 20:36
The conflict tapped into a well of post-9/11 anxieties. But Ms. Almontaser’s downfall was not merely the result of a spontaneous outcry by concerned parents and neighborhood activists. It was also the work of a growing and organized movement to stop Muslim citizens who are seeking an expanded role in American public life.

“It’s an agenda to paint Islam, not just extremists, as a major problem.”

So true.

Daniel Pipes is leading a witch hunt.

29 Apr 08,, 22:06
Pipes is living proof that some forms of bigotry are still aceptable - you just have to choose your target & your defenders well.

29 Apr 08,, 22:48
I can't believe so many people listen to the guy.

If the same things were said about Jewish Americans, there would be protests galore about anti-semitism in NY.

Gun Grape
29 Apr 08,, 23:47
Wow. I cannot believe you people didn't read the article
Ok lets get past the first page and look into the story

For years, Ms. Almontaser had hoped to become a principal. But soon after joining hands with New Visions, she faced her first challenge. To administer the Gates grant, the school needed a community partner. Two groups wanted the job: a secular Arab-American social services agency and a Muslim-led organization that runs Al-Noor School, a private Islamic establishment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

ltimately, a steering committee led by Ms. Almontaser voted in favor of the social services agency. Leaders of the Muslim group walked away feeling disrespected and distrustful of her, several of the group’s members said in interviews. It was a rupture that would come back to haunt Ms. Almontaser.

Doesn’t look like Mr. Pipes had anything to do with that, or influenced it in any way

Ms. Almontaser never considered herself unenthusiastic about America, she said. But as the conflict over the Khalil Gibran school intensified, she came to be seen by many through Mr. Pipes’s lens. In his article in The Sun, he referred to Ms. Almontaser by her birth name, Dhabah, and called her views “extremist.”
Oh my God. He called her by her First NAME. The one she actually uses.
And so what if he called her views extremist. Some of them are

Ms. Almontaser had accepted an award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim organization that critics claim has ties to terrorist groups (an assertion the group adamantly denies). In news articles, Ms. Almontaser had been critical of American foreign policy and police tactics in fighting terrorism. She also gave $2,000 to Representative Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia,
and these things shouldn’t be told about someone that wants to be the principal of young children? Mine and your children? This woman wasn't going to become some department head at the water plant. She was going to be the principal of a school.

The letter caused a stir among some Arab-Americans, who were bothered by Ms. Almontaser’s ties to Jewish groups. In late June, Aramica, an Arabic and English newspaper based in Brooklyn, ran a cover story with the headline “Zionist Organization Supports Gibran School Principal,” focusing on the link between Ms. Almontaser’s school and the Anti-Defamation League
Not a Pipes thing here either.

At an Arab-American festival in Brooklyn, she spotted T-shirts on a table bearing the words “Intifada NYC.” The organization distributing them, Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media, trains young women in community organizing and media production. The group sometimes uses the office of a Yemeni-American association in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Ms. Almontaser sits on the association’s board.
Ms. Hall took a photograph, and a few weeks later, the coalition announced on its blog that Ms. Almontaser was linked to the T-shirts.
Again, Nothing to do with Mr. Pipes. Do you think this is not a legitimate concern?

During the Post interview, Ms. Almontaser said, she told the reporter, Chuck Bennett, that the Arab women’s organization was not connected to her or the school, and that she would never be affiliated with any group that condoned violence. Then Mr. Bennett asked her for the origins of the word intifada, she said.
The educator in me responded,” Ms. Almontaser said. She explained, with Ms. Meyer listening in on the three-way phone call, that the root of the word means “shaking off.” Ms. Almontaser then offered what she described as a lengthy explanation about the evolution of the word and the “negative connotation” it had developed because of the Arab-Israeli struggle.
“The thought went across my mind to be extremely careful with my words — not to offend the Jewish community and not to offend the Arab-American community,” she said. “I was feeling pressure from all sides.”
Although Ms. Almontaser said she never spoke to the reporter about the T-shirts, she defended the girls in the organization because she believed that the reporter was set on “vilifying innocent teenagers.”
Again nothing to do with Mr. Pipes.
As a soon to be principal of a new school, I would say that she is too stupid to know when to shut up.
So she had to resign from a job that she was going to get, not an active job as principal. She still got to keep working for the Education Department. So she didn’t lose any retirement bennie’s and she kept the Principal salary although she was doing an admin job. $120thousand.

A month later, the school opens and is a disaster

. In the first days after Ms. Almontaser resigned, she felt numb, she said. Her support among Arab-Muslims remained uneven. Had she not alienated some who wanted more of a role in the school’s creation, “the whole community would have stood behind her,” said Wael Mousfar, president of the Arab Muslim American Federation. “A lot of our kids would be part of that school.”
Mr. Pipes had nothing to do with this.

and the judge ruled in the schools favor back in Dec. Her freedom of speech rights were not violated

The judge said that Ms. Almontaser had participated in the interview as school principal, and that since her employer was responsible for supervising messages to the public, her speech was not protected.

Just like a member of the military. Mr Gun Grape is allowed to say anything he wants. But GySgt Grape USMC doesn't have the right to speak for the whole Corps or say anything in an official capacity that goes against "The message".

03 May 08,, 03:29
I don't have first hand information on this. But I'd agree that this New York Times article considered Pipes leading a witch hunt. The most insightful statements about his mindest:

Mr. Pipes places Muslims in three categories, he said: those who are violent, those who are moderate and those in the middle. It is this middle group, he argued, that now poses the greatest threat to American values.

I'd take the opposite view. There are 1.3-1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If you don't want them to become radical, you'll want a strong moderate Muslim voice. Ms. Almontaser was probably the best moderate they have. It's sad to see he went from lack of security to paranoid to irrational to hostile to heavy-handed character assassination, against the best candidate to bring peace and mutual understanding to them!