CAIR-NY: ‘BROOKLYN ARABIC SCHOOL’
While the issue of school vouchers remains unsettled; the option of studying at a private school wherein there is some level of taxpayer subsidization is not a novel idea nor is it isolated to the Khalil Gibran International Academy [Editorial, “Brooklyn Arabic School,” May 8, 2007].
All private and parochial schools benefit from taxpayer funds in the form of textbooks, lunches, and transportation.
The New York Sun editorial, “Brooklyn Arabic School,” claims that the establishment of the KGIA would create an injustice by depriving other parents of the choice to send their children to a culture-centric school. However, the standard for the alleged injustice is not applied across the board to all academic institutions.
At present, New York City has numerous schools that promote a specific civilization and language. There are schools that promote Russian, French, Spanish, and Japanese culture.
By making the incorrect correlation that an Arabic school, especially one named for a Christian Arab, would espouse Islam is, at the least, misleading.
Arabs are not only comprised of Muslims, but there are also Christians, Jews, and adherents of the Bhai faith.
Furthermore, the school’s intended student population is Arabs who simply share a common heritage, not a specific religion.
Referencing cases that arose in Brooklyn and making baseless connections to the curriculum of the school is an erroneously dangerous conclusion. Drawing parallels between yeshivas and Catholic schools simply reinforces the editorial’s ignorance and desire to misinform.
Arabic culture and language is not a religious ideology and should not be categorized as such.
From its inception, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New York chapter has been at the forefront of promoting and engaging in interfaith dialogue in New York City.
As an organization, CAIR and its local chapter, CAIR-NY denounced and condemned terrorism on a national and international level. Most recently, CAIR applauded law enforcement for their efforts in thwarting the planned attack on Fort Dix, N.J.
MARYAM SAYAR AKBAR
Civil Rights Director
New York, N.Y.