Ireland: Proposals include five Muslim schools

Up to five Muslim schools and six Catholic schools could be opened next year, as part of the plans for the New Schools Advisory Committee of the Department of Education. The five Muslim schools planned are for Lucan, Clonee, and Tallaght in Dublin, Tralee, Co Kerry, and Sligo – to cater for the demand of the growing Muslim population in these areas. Chairman of the North Dublin Muslim National School Shahzad Ahmed said: The Catholic schools have catered well for Muslim children but their parents might feel they are uncomfortable when it comes to teaching religion. Two Muslim schools already open in Dublin teach the same curriculum as all schools, but include Arabic language lessons, which include religious instruction.

Arabic School Ex-Principal Fights to Get Her Job Back

The founding principal of the city’s first Arabic-language school said yesterday that the Bloomberg administration forced her to resign in August by threatening to shut the school. She said she was applying to get the job back. In her first detailed public account of what led her to step down after defending the word ”intifada” on a T-shirt, the principal, Debbie Almontaser, presented herself as the victim of an anti-Arab ”smear campaign” from conservative newspapers and blogs and of pressure from city officials…

Head of City’s Arabic School Steps Down Under Pressure

The principal of New York City’s first public school dedicated to the study of Arabic language and culture resigned under pressure yesterday, days after she was quoted defending the use of the word intifada as a T-shirt slogan. Debbie Almontaser, a veteran public school teacher, stepped down as the principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy, a middle school that is to open this fall in Brooklyn. This morning I tendered my resignation to Chancellor Klein, which he accepted, she said in a statement, referring to Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein. I became convinced yesterday that this week’s headlines were endangering the viability of Khalil Gibran International Academy, even though I apologized. Those headlines had become impossible for Ms. Almontaser and the Department of Education to ignore. On Wednesday, a headline in The New York Post called Ms. Almontaser the Intifada Principal. Yesterday, an editorial in the paper had the headline, What’s Arabic for _Shut It Down’?

Plan for Arabic School in Brooklyn Spurs Protests

The Khalil Gibran International Academy was conceived as a public embrace of New York City’s growing Arab population and of internationalism, the first public school dedicated to the study of the Arabic language and culture and open to students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. But nearly three months after plans for the middle school were first announced, a beleaguered Department of Education is fending off attacks from two angry camps: parents from Public School 282, the elementary school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that was assigned to share building space with the Khalil Gibran school, and a handful of columnists who have called the proposed academy a madrassa, which teaches the Koran. Now the chancellor of schools, Joel I. Klein, is considering other locations for the school, or even postponing the opening for a year, according to several people involved in the discussions, and the whole endeavor has been turned into a test of tolerance – and its limits – in post-9/11, multiethnic New York.

A New School Plans to Teach Half of Classes Using Arabic

The New York City school system will open its first public school dedicated to teaching the Arabic language and culture in September, with half of its classes eventually taught in Arabic, officials said yesterday. The school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, is one of 40 new schools that the Department of Education is opening for the 2007-8 school year. It will serve grades 6 to 12 and will be in Brooklyn, although a specific location has not been determined. Debbie Almontaser, a 15-year veteran of the school system who is the driving force behind the school and will be its principal, said that ideally, the school would serve an equal mix of students with backgrounds in Arabic language and culture and those without such backgrounds.