“Political Education” : Women’s International Perspective

Political Education: An Arabic School Becomes an Ideological Battleground as Opponents Claim It Will Teach Terrorism

New York City schools threw open their doors this fall to the familiar din of bustling hallways and overstuffed classrooms. But in one corner of Brooklyn, a group of sixth-graders stepped into class surrounded by the clamor of a political battle resonating across the country.


Students line up to enter the Khalil Gibran International Academy on the first day of school. Photograph courtesy of Brooklyn Paper (Tom Callan).

The Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) is an ordinary public school with a mission that is proving more extraordinary by the day. It aspires to teach students to move fluently across one of the world’s most contentious cultural divides: between America and the Arab-speaking world.That goal has triggered a debate that is igniting ethnic tensions in the city. Opponents suspect hidden ties to terrorism. Supporters say the controversy lays bare the very ignorance the Academy was designed to alleviate.

“People are so afraid of teaching Arabic culture, but why?” said Sara Said, a Yemeni-American college student whose younger brother attends the school, Read more…

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