Yesterday, Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes did a segment asking if the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first New York City public school “dedicated to the study of the Arabic language and culture,” is “a breeding ground for radicals.”
As Fox rolled footage of the 9/11 attacks, Sean Hannity asked if the New York Board of Education was “blurring the line between the separation of church and state” by using “tax dollars to fund an all Muslim school. ” After displaying banners with “Islam 101?” and “Funding Fatwa?,” Alan Colmes introduced the segment by saying, “Coming soon to a classroom near you, Al Qaeda!” Watch it:
In reality, the school is open to “students of all racial and ethnic background,” not just Muslims, and its curriculum is “not religion-based.” According to the New York Board of Education, the academy will offer “a standard college preparatory curriculum, with separate Arabic language instruction,” and special emphasis on the “the history and contributions of the Arab people.”
Hannity also suggested that instruction of reading and writing should precede lessons in Arabic culture and history. “Once we teach kids to read, write and math then we can expand out?” But like the more than 60 other dual-language New York public schools, which “focus on cultures as diverse as Creole and Chinese and Russian,” the Khalil Gibran International Academy will teach Arabic culture while simultaneously preparing students for the “rigorous New York State Regents Examinations.” As the National Association for Bilingual Education points out, “English-speaking students who learn a second language routinely do better in school and get better jobs.”
And if the above segment is any indication, then the school’s mission, to “embrace of New York City’s growing Arab population and of internationalism,” and dispel “the stereotypes” of Arab Americans, is all too relevant.