By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
New York, September 16: Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) has opened in New York as 55-students arrived for class amid increased security after heated controversy over the school.
Since the school was first announced in February this year, the right wing New York media have been running a smear campaign with ignorant, bigoted, and hateful commentaries against it. The anti-Arabic campaign was spearheaded by Islamophobists Daniel Pipes and Alicia Colon in the New York Sun and the New York Post.
Those who sought to equate the study of Arabic language, culture, and history with religious fanaticism and violence were irresponsibly aggravating a present moment of hysteria against Arab and Muslim communities and seizing this as another opportunity to promote hatred.
Interestingly, while the KGIA has been attacked for indirectly teaching Islam in a public institution, it is hardly mentioned that Khalil Gibran himself was not even a Muslim. He was a Christian Arab.
A public school, the misnomered “Arab American School” is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds. As an educational innovation the announcement should have been applauded but it almost immediately it became controversial. More…
(The author is the executive editor of the American Muslim Perespective: www.amperspective.com)