MPAC-NYC APPLAUDS EEOC FINDING OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FOUNDING PRINCIPAL OF KHALIL GIBRAN ACADEMY : Press Release

3/15/10

The MPAC-NYC community today welcomed a recent ruling by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which found that the New York City Department of Education  discriminated against Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in 2007. Almontasser was forced by resign her post following a highly politicized and baseless attack by Islamophobes, led by Daniel Pipes.

SEE: Federal Panel Finds Bias in Ouster of Principal (New York Times)

In a letter issued last week, the EEOC stated that the NYC Department of Education (DOE) had discriminated against Almontaser, a Muslim of Yemeni descent, “on account of her race, religion, and national origin.”

The commission went on to state that the NYC DOE “succumbed to the very bias that the creation of the school was intended to dispel and that a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on DOE as an employer.”

Commenting on the Commission’s finding, Alan Levine, an attorney for Almontaser, said:

“Debbie Almontaser was victimized twice. First, when she was subjected to an ugly smear campaign orchestrated by anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigots, and second, when the DOE capitulated to their bigotry. But the bigots didn’t have the power to take her job away. The DOE did. To its everlasting shame, the DOE did the bigots’ work.  Now, the EEOC has reminded us that it is the responsibility of government to stand up to the forces of discrimination, not to give into them.”

MPAC urges the New York City Department of Education, per the EEOC recommendation, to reinstate Ms. Almontaser in her position as principal of the school and to consider her demands of back pay and legal fees.

Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.

[CONTACT: Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443, communications@mpac.org]

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