“Standing firm” : The Brooklyn Paper

 

 

 

 

A police officer stands at the Department of Education’s Manhattan headquarters, where protesters rallied on Monday to demand the reinstatement of Khalil Gibran Academy principal Debbie Almontaser, who resigned under fire earlier this month.

 

 

 

Dozens of people rallied this week in front of the Department of Education’s Manhattan headquarters to demand the reinstatement of Khalil Gibran Academy principal Debbie Almontaser.

 

 

 

A protester questions the Mayor’s reasoning for giving in to those who called for controversial principal Debbie Almontaser to be canned.

A diverse group that included Arab-American activists and Jewish educators rallied on the steps of the Department of Education on Monday to demand the reinstatement of Debbie Almontaser to the helm of the city’s first Arabic language and culture academy.

The rally came less than two weeks after Almontaser resigned amid an uproar over her defense of a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Intifada NYC,” and a Jewish, non-Arabic-speaking educator was appointed in her place to run the school, which is slated to begin its first school year next month in a Dean Street middle- and high-school building.

“There was a lot of hysteria going around. No one was willing to stand up and support the school. No one was courageous enough.” ~ Irene Tung, Make the Road by Walking

Almontaser, the founder of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, had been quoted in the New York Post earlier this month defending the T-shirt on the grounds that the word “intifada” literally translates as “shaking off.”

“Debbie should lead this school because she founded it, and it’s her vision,” said Mona Eldahry, founding director of Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media (AWAAM), the organization that sells the “Intifada NYC” T-shirts and shares an office with another organization associated with Almontaser. Eldahry was one of the organizers of the rally, which drew close to 200 people.

“Debbie attempted to educate the public about the word ‘intifada’ [by using] a definition you’ll find in any dictionary.” More…

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