Dozens of supporters of the controversial Arabic-themed public school slated to open in Brooklyn next month rallied last night to support its recently resigned principal.
Organizers of the protest at Department of Education headquarters in lower Manhattan included members of the group that sells the “Intifada NYC” T-shirts that were initially defended by Khalil Gibran International Academy’s former principal, Debbie Almontaser.
The flap over the shirts caused Almontaser – a devout Muslim and fluent Arabic speaker – to resign under fire.
“I thought this was not just an attack on her as an Arab, as a Muslim, but this was an attack on our community as a whole,” said Sara Said Alkhulaidi, 21, whose brother will attend the school.
Deborah Howard, whose daughter attended a school where Almontaser once taught, said, “Anyone who says that Debbie is anything other than a woman of peace has never met Debbie.”
Mona Eldahry, of Arab Women Active in Art and Media, which sold the shirts, said, “We look forward to the day when our public officials condemn the racism that has created this situation, rather than affirming it.”
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, who supports the school, said the campaign against it is “the lowest of McCarthyite tactics.”