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McCarthyism in Brooklyn?
October 26th, 2007

The ouster of Debbie Altontaser as principal of the new Kahlil Gibran Academy in Brooklyn represents an example of the new McCarthyism , according to Larry Cohler-Esses in The Nation.

This movement targets a new enemy for our era: Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field who are identified as stepping over an unstated line in criticizing Israel, as radical Islamists, as just plain radical or as in some way sympathetic to terrorists, Cohler-Esses writes. Under the guise of addressing an undeniable security threat, he continues, the New McCarthyites display cynical indifference to the truth or decency of their charges.

Almontaser had persuaded the Department of Education to establish a small public school devoted to Arab language and culture. The school sparked opposition, much of it directed at Almontaser, a Yemeni-born educator, who has promoted religious and ethnic harmony in the city. The Department of Education
forced her out after she provoked a furor by discussing the definition of the word infitada. Almontaser has since said she would apply to get the job back but the Department of Education has said there is no chance of that happening.

Footnote: One of the leaders of the movement against the Kahlil Gibran International Academy in general and Almontaser is particular has been Daniel Pipes. The Nation writes that Pipes claimed erroneously that Almontaser has denied Muslims or Arabs were involved in the 9/11 attacks. Charging that Arabic in of itself promotes an Islamic outlook, Pipes has written , Imbuing pan-Arabism and anti-Zionism, proselytizing for Islam and promoting Islamist sympathies will predictably make up the school’s true curriculum. He has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps,” according to the New York Times. In the same article, paper reports that Pipes serves as a foreign policy adviser to Rudolph Giulianis presidential campaign.

By on October 26, 2007, 12:12 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Education,Electoral Politics,Immigrants | No Comments »

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