What’s Troubling About Charter School Debate: The Hate

By Marcia Lynx Qualey, Engage Minnesota The Minnesota Department of Education has issued a report clearing Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy of the major allegations leveled against it and requesting that the school address smaller areas of concern. The May 19 report states that the school’s core business—curriculum—is nonreligious, in full compliance with all Minnesota statutes. The Department of Education’s areas of concern related to how the school structures its voluntary Friday prayers as well as the timing of after-school busing. In a statement, Tarek school officials said that they take these concerns “very seriously” and will be getting together with Read More …

Students Deserve Equal Religious Rights Under the Law

By Fedwa Wazwaz and Marcia Lynx Qualey, Engage Minnesota On April 9, we read Katherine Kersten’s column in the Star Tribune, and the e-mail exchange between Kersten and Asad Zaman, executive director of Tariq ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), and were compelled to respond. I (Fedwa) have an eight-year-old daughter. I visited TIZA and decided not to enroll my daughter, choosing instead Al Amal School in Fridley. The primary reason is that I was convinced TIZA is not an Islamic School and does not teach Islamic Education to kids. I pay from my own pocket to put my daughter in Al Read More …

Support the Same Standards for All

Since Katherine Kersten’s column regarding Tariq ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) in yesterday’s Star Tribune, the Minnesota Department of Education has been inundated with negative calls. Kersten’s column claims that TIZA is violating its charter and the “church and state” separation. She bases this largely on the observations of one short-time substitute teacher who was immersed in a different school culture, and could easily have been mistaken in her impressions and interpretations. However, whether or not TIZA has violated the strictest interpretation of religion-state separation is not the issue. What school in Minnesota has not? Indeed, last December, the Minneapolis public Read More …