When I met him a while ago in The New York Sun's offices, Chancellor Joel Klein seemed to be in command of his senses. And Mayor Bloomberg did not become a successful billionaire without having some smarts. So whose insane idea was it to have an Arabic public school in Brooklyn open this September? Are they out of their minds? Have they learned nothing from the Netherlands about the danger of pandering to multiculturalism?
When I first heard of this proposed school, I thought it was a joke. But then I read Daniel Pipes's column about this disguised "madrassa" and discovered who the major principals were. Now I can't dispel this feeling of disbelief and outrage. This proposal is utter madness, considering that five years after September 11, ground zero is still a hole in the ground and we're bending over backwards to appease those sympathetic to individuals who would destroy us again. Smart, really smart.
I still recall sitting next to Bart Jan Spruyt for a dinner meeting of conservative leaders at a Midtown restaurant in 2005. Mr. Spruyt, the founder of the Dutch think tank Edmund Burke Foundation, was visiting here with a member of the Dutch Parliament, Geert Wilders. Bodyguards stood outside the closed meeting because Mr. Wilders had been under a death threat from radical Islamists because of his insistence on a moratorium on foreign immigration and his opposition to Turkey entering the European Union.
Both gentlemen had come to America to network with those who could advise them on how to proceed with promoting conservatism in the Netherlands. Holland has always been known for its liberalism and tolerance, but the blatant daytime slaughter of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by radical Islamists turned out to be Holland's September 11.
Their government had created Muslim schools. Are you listening, Mayor Bloomberg? It had even used public money to build mosques. The Netherlands foolishly believed that the new immigrants would assimilate into the Dutch culture. Instead, Wilders said at the meeting, "more than 1 million Muslims there have already opted for radical Islam."
What is particularly galling about this disastrous endeavor is the school is going to misleadingly be called the Khalil Gibran International Academy, as if we're stupid enough to believe that the school will only be teaching Arabic language and not Islamic culture. Khalil Gibran, author of "The Prophet" which was not about Mohammed was a Lebanese Christian.
There is a definite need for instruction in the Arabic language, but Arabic should be taught as an elective in the same manner as French, Spanish, German, and Italian. During World War II, did we open a German public school to explain the Third Reich? The idea would have been considered preposterous, yet this plan seems to have sneaked past us without any diligent investigation.
Immediately after September 11th, it became obvious that authorities were inadequately prepared to translate covert messages involving radical Islamists. I received a letter from a woman in Queens who said that her local Jewish community center had offered the FBI the services of Middle Easterners who were fluent in several Arab dialects, but they never received a response. Fools! Also when my daughter received a wrong number on her cell phone she recorded what sounded like an urgent Arabic message. The call was from Michigan, where a radical cell had just been uncovered. I contacted the FBI and played the recording, but their "expert" could not translate it and I was told to forget about it. Fools again! So I understand the need for language instruction for the Homeland Security and other law enforcement personnel. But a public school here in New York, where Arab terrorists murdered thousands of innocent civilians?
How delighted Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda must have been to hear the news that New York City, the site of the worst terrorist attack in our history, is bowing down in homage to accommodate and perhaps groom future radicals. The principal designate, Dhabah Almontaser, is virulently anti-Bush a typical academic but she is now undergoing a public relations makeover to soften her radical image. I suggest that New Yorkers research her hostile speeches and then do everything possible to put an end to this disastrously ill-conceived school.
Daniel Pipes was too conservative in asking his readers to send e-mails to the Chancellor at [email protected]. I say break out the torches and surround City Hall to stop this monstrosity.