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 …

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 …

Tag, You’re It

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota I like to read books on self-help and psycho-therapy. Recently, I read a book called Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. In the book, Kreger and Mason talk about projection as “denying one’s own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them (often in an accusing way) to someone else” and then attacking that person for those traits. In their interview with psychotherapist Elyce M. Benham, projection is defined as “gazing at yourself in a hand-held mirror. When you think you look ugly, you turn the mirror around. Voila! Now Read More …

Basimah Hasan: Changing Images Every Friday at 4

Talk-Show Host Aims to Correct Distorted Picture of Muslims and Islam By Marcia Lynx Qualey, Engage Minnesota It was 1998 when Basimah Hasan left her hometown of Chicago for Minneapolis. In the Twin Cities, she attended nursing school and began her career at North Memorial Hospital. She says that there is a “big difference” between the Minneapolis and Chicago Muslim communities. TV Show: “Islamic View” Airtime: 4 p.m. Fridays Time-Warner cable Ch. 16 “[There are] more Muslims in Chicago, and they’re more active. Here, everyone seems to be in their own ethnic groups. You don’t see a lot of activities Read More …

Newsflash, Tina Fey: Muslim is the New Black!

By Ramla Bile, Engage Minnesota The mudslinging has reached the level of flagrant Islamophobia. In the past few months, I have seen my faith reduced to a smear tactic. I witnessed political pundits attempt to capitalize on the public’s misconceptions about Islam and Muslims to delegitimize another candidate. The RNC and McCain repeatedly apologized over some “disparaging remarks” made by their supporters, primarily regarding the usage of the name Hussein, Obama’s middle name. An analyst on MSNBC’s “Hardball” even said, “Unfortunately, his middle name is Hussein,” as if there is something inherently tragic or wrong with having a Semitic name. Read More …