The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded that New York City’s Department of Education wrongly fired Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim American from Yemen, discriminating on the basis of her race, religion and national origin.
Almontaser was the founding principal of the Arabic-themed Khalil Gibran International Academy, a dual-language public school that opened in 2007, but was pressured to resign due to public outrage over her attempts to explain the word “intifada” — most commonly associated with the Palestinian uprising against Israel — does not mean “terrorism.” (Read this story for more details – it’s written by Andrea Elliott, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her series about an immigrant imam’s struggles in America.)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups representing Arab and Muslim Americans, including MuslimMatters.org, have applauded this “good news,” but the DOE maintains that it did not discriminate against Almontaser and will not reinstate her; Almontaser is appealing her lawsuit against the city. We’ll see where this goes. (More)