Paying for this?

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There's a school in Minnesota where students gather for prayer each day and stay after school for "Islamic studies."

That's not so remarkable. America is home to many private and religious schools.

The thing is, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or TIZA, is neither private nor "religious." It's a public charter school.

School officials claim the prayer is student-led and initiated. That's odd, considering the school was once K-5 -- meaning it supposedly had a bunch of 5- to 11-year-olds with the chutzpah to lead a school in prayer.

It's a ruse, of course, to dupe taxpayers into funding an Islamic school.

"TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense," writes Star-Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten. "If TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.

She's right -- and courageous for exposing the scam.

Charter schools, as Kersten notes, may do things differently than other public schools, but they are still public schools and must adhere to laws prohibiting the teaching or endorsing of one religion over another.

"TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school," Kersten writes. "It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is 'establishing Islam in Minnesota.' The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

"Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food -- permissible under Islamic law -- and 'Islamic Studies' is offered at the end of the school day."

"The prayer I saw was not voluntary," one of the school's substitute teachers told Kersten. "The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred."

Belatedly, the Minnesota Department of Education is looking into the school's practices, as is the ACLU.

Of course, as Kersten points out, the investigation would have come a lot sooner, and the ACLU would have been much downright intoxicated with zeal, had this been a Christian school.

The school needs to be de-certified. They can have an Islamic school if they want. But they have no right to reach into taxpayer pockets to pay for it.

Not in the United States we used to know, anyway.

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DrGunby68
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DrGunby68 04/21/08 - 01:02 am
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Seeth whateth Bush and his

Seeth whateth Bush and his faith-based initiatives have wrought? I am a Christian. I just don't want to live under a theocracy or a system where one religion or no religion is preferred over any other. Someone clarify for me...are there not Christian charter schools that receive funds...not sure.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 04/21/08 - 02:37 am
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Not as a "PUBLIC" school

Not as a "PUBLIC" school anyway DrGunby. Private schools are allowed to get lunch vouchers, but they usually are not suppose to get public funding for it. As pointed out in the article, if this were a Christian school, they would be shut down faster than anything by court order.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 04/21/08 - 04:00 am
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Good lord....it's Bush's

Good lord....it's Bush's fault? This man can do ANYTHING!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/21/08 - 04:44 am
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More than anything this is

More than anything this is another opportunity for The Chronicle to bash Islam. They have a track record to show that is typical for The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff's rightwing agenda. The question for me is are non-Muslims forced to attend this school? I don't think so. The regimen in the school is probably what the parents of these students want. It likely conforms to community standards in this respect. I don't want my children to go to this school, but neither do I want them to go to an orthodox Jewish school or a Catholic School. I bet one could find examples of public schools that meet those description. I'm doubtful that this is the only public school in the country that operates under these guidelines. Trust me, the ACLU does not shy away from controversy nor does it have a pro-Islamic, anti-Christian bias that The Chronicle overtly implies. The swipe at the ACLU is another reason I suspect The Chronicle has primarily political and anti-Islam motives in this editorial. I also submit that Muslims living in Augusta are intimidated into silence by the strong sentiments of the Christian religious right. Muslims living in American want to live and work in peace, and speaking out will only bring hostilities on them in the "time of war". A Palestinian who sent aid to children in Gaza was found wrapped in duct tape floating in a pond in Texas last week. Police ruled it a suicide.

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/21/08 - 04:45 am
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No, if a charter school dared

No, if a charter school dared to offer CHRISTIAN prayer it would be shut down THAT DAY!

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/21/08 - 04:47 am
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Yes, the ACLU is unswerving

Yes, the ACLU is unswerving in their protection of Christian values! Give me a break!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/21/08 - 04:56 am
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I wish President Bush would

I wish President Bush would use his magic powers to heal cancer. DrGunby68, you're extremely anal in your postings. Apparently BLT Christians are a little thick.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/21/08 - 04:59 am
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The ACLU went to court on

The ACLU went to court on behalf of Ollie North for Christ's sake. Now, wasn't that "Christian" of them? The ACLU is concerned with civil liberties. ACLU stands for American Civil Liberties Union. Are the civil rights of children attending this school in Minnesota being violated? Are the civil rights of Minnesota taxpayers being violated? The Chronicle goes fishing for rightwing causes for kneejerks like The Last Word. Where was YOUR letter to the editor before you read about it here this morning? The Chronicle is good at whipping up the rabble in reaction against Islam and against the ACLU. Where are all the Christian ministers speaking out again the illegal, immoral war in Iraq? The Chronicle bashes moderate Muslims for not speaking out. Why doesn't it bash the Christian religious right for their failure to speak out against killing done in the name of western Christian "civilization"? Leave the Muslim school in Minnesota in peace. Leave moderate Muslims in peace. Islam doesn't have the corner on extremism. United States of America under George W. Bush is now an extremist, rogue nation. Yes, it is "Bush's fault". This Fool sets the tone for other angry, rightwing fools to follow.

christian134
1
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christian134 04/21/08 - 05:12 am
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If the word public means

If the word public means anything it means public....for all...no matter who attends...one way of schooling.....That being said it does not seem quite fair or legal to allow the Muslim religion and/or habits being taught in public schooling....Oh right, we Christians, are the only ones who are taken to the woodshed so to speak when it comes to prayer in schools, Bible being taught and anything else remotely connected with Christianity...Oh wait a minute hold on they have already succeeded have they not?....Why for goodness sake the ACLU would be the first to tear a pathway straight to the Supreme Court and fight to get this type of "criminal" behavior outlawed.....But as much as I love this nation and would fight and die for her I still must hold to the truth that our country is the absolute best when it comes to allowing this sort of travesty to take place...... We are told to place nice when it comes to allowing our children to be exposed to a religion that supports worldwide terrorists attacks on the country and do not forget the killing of our brave men and women overseas....:-(

SoonerorLater
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SoonerorLater 04/21/08 - 05:14 am
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Cain is so quick to pull the

Cain is so quick to pull the trigger and bash the AC staff that he totally missed the fact that this school is getting PUBLIC funds from TAXPAYERS. Thus, if it is a publicly funded school, they cannot do things like "forced" prayer, or teach about a religion. Cane is so quick to spout his anti American BS that he does not (or simply cannot) read the article and understand the point that this is done with PUBLIC TAXPAYER FUNDING. Read it again Cain, then tell me if you agree with the taxpayers funding an Islamist school that conducts prayer and teaches about their religion.

SoonerorLater
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SoonerorLater 04/21/08 - 05:34 am
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Katherine Gerstne, who wrote

Katherine Gerstne, who wrote an article in the April 9th edition of the Minneapolis-St Paul StarTribune stated that she tried to visit the school and had contacted the Imam Asad Zaman. She asked to visit the school and he declined, stating that the activities were hectic with the state wide testing going on. When she contacted the Education Dept. she was told that the tests were not for several weeks. She contacted Mr. Zaman via email and told him this information, he did not respond to her emails or phone calls (sounds like Cain when a legitimate tough question is asked of him). One of the lessons was also to study the Quaran, and pray in a school "assembly". Mr. Zaman stated that the Dept of Education had inspected the school "numerous" times, but records show only 3 visits in 5 years. Read it for yourself at www.startribune.com/local/17406054.html Now Cain, for a simple question, if a school is getting tax payer money, should they be engaging in religious activities such as prayer or reading the Bible/Quaran/etc.?

shivas
2
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shivas 04/21/08 - 05:43 am
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I thought the far right was

I thought the far right was in favor of religion and God in our schools.

Frank
3
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Frank 04/21/08 - 05:55 am
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"...a religion that supports

"...a religion that supports worldwide terrorists attacks on the country.." Islam does not support this way of thinking any more than Christianity.. that's simply falling into the propaganda that you've been shovelled.. Mr Bush has gone so far as to call our liberation of Iraq a "Crusade".. what were the Crusades but an ousting of the muslim people by the Christians simply for not being Christian?

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/21/08 - 06:03 am
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I'm saying this school is far

I'm saying this school is far from the only religious school receiving public money. I'm saying this is an opportunity to bash Islam & by proxy justify U.S. aggression in Iraq and against "Islamic extremists" wherever Bush decides. Today U.S. jets are bombing Sadr City, but you knuckleheads are arguing about taxpayer dollars being spent on a school in Minnesota. This is a distraction, a rightwing talking point, another Muslim whipping boy, and nothing more. Let's see what the ACLU decides. When they come done on your side, will you still whine about the ACLU's biases? Meanwhile the killing goes on and on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody's bleeding in Minnesota, and parents voluntarily send their children to this school AFAIK. Billions (whole pallets full of American cash - more than $9 billion) disappeared in Iraq under the auspices of Paul Bremer's CPA but you guys aren't complaining about that! That was taxpayer money too. The United States financial system is hemorrhaging and on life support, and you guys want to argue about a pin prick in Minnesota. Bomb Muslims overseas and Bash Muslims here is America. That is your and The Chronicle's rightwing agenda. Taxpayer dollars my ...!

SoonerorLater
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SoonerorLater 04/21/08 - 06:05 am
0
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This school is also thought

This school is also thought to be a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, a known terrorist organization who wishes to overthrow our jurisprudence and replace it with Sharia Law. Minnesota Public schools by law are supposed to fly the American flag, but it was not at this school. When pressed for an answer, Mr. Zaman replied he did not know how to work the flagpole. This whole story just does not add up and I do not see how anyone could defend this, especially the use of tax payer money. Still waiting on an answer from Cain from my 634am post.

Republicant
3
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Republicant 04/21/08 - 06:19 am
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You have to be consistent.

You have to be consistent. They should not allow this school to have prayer to it at taxpayer expense. If they want to gather after school or before, and voluntarily pray, fine. But if it is forced, or led by faculty, no way.

SoonerorLater
0
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SoonerorLater 04/21/08 - 06:26 am
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0
Far from the only school

Far from the only school Cain, prove it? Or is it you saying it that you believe it in your own mind. How do you turn a taxpayer funded Islamic school into a conversation about Iraq, is that all the you can come up with, the same old drivel. Cain still refuses to answer the quesitons that are asked of him, and he only gives his opinion void of any factual based information. Go back to your Augusta Alternative web site where you post 38 times a day and own 93% of the 6,000 posts in less then 6 months. This school is a ruse and they are probably breeding the next generation of terrorists right here in our own backyard. That is all fine with you Cain, as long as it gives you a platform to spew your anti American Bush hating diatribes.

christian134
1
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christian134 04/21/08 - 06:43 am
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Frank your logic doesn't sell

Frank your logic doesn't sell me anymore than mine sells you.....I really must restate again that the teaching of Islam in public schools in this country is just not the right thing to do....To many ways to screw the child's mind around to the uglier violent side of radical thinking....

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/21/08 - 07:05 am
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The ACLU, in their unswerving

The ACLU, in their unswerving desire to serve the public good, is now supporting the polygamists in Texas! The ACLU has a track record of supporting anti-Christian causes. Their few dalliances in support of Christian or conservative causes are usually narrow in scope and certainly not their typical effort. As for Oliver North, I can only say that even the ACLU must recognize a great American when they see one - occasionally. But, Cain, I do not believe they supported him for Jesus Christ's sake. Did I miss something?

dani
13
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dani 04/21/08 - 07:06 am
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When you see a person who

When you see a person who doesn't mind taxpayers money going to pay for these ridiculous acts, you can bet that person is on the receiving end and not a taxpayer.
At least the Board of education is looking into it, and hopefully, this program will be discontiinued.

robartbyrrd
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robartbyrrd 04/21/08 - 07:22 am
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gumnuts, sounds as if in this

gumnuts, sounds as if in this case, islam is allowed in public schools where christianity is not. As usual, your argument doesn't hold water. As for shiva, we are, where is all the christian activity in public schools, again shiva, you don't seem to amaze me with your stupid posts.

mommie2
2
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mommie2 04/21/08 - 07:29 am
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I work at a charter school

I work at a charter school and it is true that charter schools sometimes do things differently because of issues that we have that other schools do not. But we always abide by federal and state laws and there is no way they should recieve funding if they are endorsing a religion.

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
0
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 04/21/08 - 07:48 am
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cain,just the fact you have

cain,just the fact you have children is scary enough.....

shivas
2
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shivas 04/21/08 - 07:50 am
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We must be consistent as a

We must be consistent as a country. No Islam and no Christianity and no form of religion should be taught or sponsered in our school system. Nice to finally agree with Christian134 and the AC on a topic. This si the perfect of example of why our founding fathers mandated a separation of church and state.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 04/21/08 - 07:58 am
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Seems a clear case of fraud

Seems a clear case of fraud being exposed-in this case muslims, but I have to question that this is a diss against islam beause it is an editorial. Sounds like this is being investigated but the AC decides to make an issue. Is this just one school or do they imply a trend by muslims? I am sure there are cases of jewish, christian, or other faiths also taking advantage of the system, but the AC chose to make this an issue. Seems politically motivated rather than rational. Although I think any religion taking advantage of the system should be prosecuted so if this turns out like the AC paints then nip it.

weekapaug05
0
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weekapaug05 04/21/08 - 08:11 am
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this is old news, the AC is

this is old news, the AC is just picking up on what the AP was writing about a month ago

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 04/21/08 - 08:28 am
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JohnCain, why don't you just

JohnCain, why don't you just move your behind to Iraq, or some other place that hates America, a place where you might fit in better, if you hate this country so much by all means feel free to leave, thank GOD your values are the minority and not the majority. You are so filled with hate for this country yet you continue to live here and reap the benefits.............

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 04/21/08 - 08:44 am
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gunby, did George W Bush

gunby, did George W Bush personally come over to your house and pee on the rosebushes, thus killing them? Because if that is not the case, I just cannot understand you. We have a case in which the third-most liberal state in the union--home of Garrison Keillor (whom I adore, but let's face it, he's not exactly Jack Bauer)--establishes a charter school that is teaching Islam in an apparent effort to show how tolerant they can be. And this is somehow related to BUSH? Because, though I agree that Bush has paid lip service to the concept of vouchers (without doing anything effective to bring them to life on the national stage), at no point has he suggested that a taxpayer-funded public school should be teaching Christian doctrine...or Jewish, Hindu, or Shinto doctrine, for that matter. C'mon, Gunby, you can do better...what's next, blaming Bush for Pelosi's "greening" project???

brisco39
0
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brisco39 04/21/08 - 09:08 am
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Hey BLH Cain, I live in

Hey BLH Cain, I live in Texas. Had a Palestenian (or anyone else) been wrapped in duct tape and drowned in a pond, it would have made the news here. It didn't. Please cite the source of your allegation. If you have no reputable source all you have is a rumor. Try to hold down the hyperbole.

robbie1
0
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robbie1 04/21/08 - 09:15 am
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I think Shivas summed it up

I think Shivas summed it up nicely. Where is the ACLU on this one?

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