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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Khalil Gibran Jihad School's new public relations ploy - Army Sgt. Patrick Kowalchuk reports for duty

Khalil Gibran Jihad School's new public relations ploy - Army Sgt. Patrick Kowalchuk reports for duty

May 31, 2007

Khalil Gibran School's New Public Relations Ploy - Call In The Army

By William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz

May 31, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - As noted in an article in Tuesday's New York Post, "IRAQ GI SALUTES CITY ARAB SCHOOL," Dhabah Almontaser, principal designate of the embattled Khalil Gibran jihad school, is reaching out to an unlikely source of support, the U.S. Army...in the personage of Sgt. Patrick Kowalchuk who is currently teaching Arabic at Fort Carson, Colorado.

According to Almontaser, Sgt. Kowalchuk became aware of the Arabic school concept and allegedly sent her an email which was supportive of the proposal:

"American society desperately needs this bridge to Arabic language and culture, and I am glad there are visionary and courageous people like yourself who are laying down the framework."

Kowalchuk's appearance at this point in the KGIA controversy appears to be nothing more than a desperate ploy by Ms. Almontaser, who is seeking to create a patriotic symbol to rescue her school which has already been rejected by PS 282 and is encountering similar resistance at Boerum Hill where Joel Klein's Department of Education is trying to cram the institution down the throats of protesting students, parents and faculty members.

Finding it intriguing - to say the least - that a U.S. serviceman would be involved with Almontaser, whose record of anti-war activism and public statements reveal her to be a radical Islamist, PipeLineNews contacted him Tuesday morning, asking for a comment.

He stated that he couldn't talk at the moment because he was "at work" but would speak to us "in his off hours" and gave us a cell contact number and a time to call back this afternoon.

When the return call was made - at the time he suggested - we found he had provided a cell number which wasn't his, but belonged to someone in New York, a male with a heavy accent. In a follow-up call to Fort Carson, one of Kowalchuk's associates informed us that the Sergeant was now refusing to talk to us, period.

Kowalchuk's amateurish game playing and deceit should place him in good stead if and when he decides to teach at KGIA. It is also illustrative of the larger duplicity manifest in Almontaser's developing PR strategy.

This strategy shift came about because New York's DOE, Ms. Almontaser and all of those involved with lobbying for KGIA are denying the implicit religious and political nature of the institution and as a result are now trying to do an end run around the issue, seeking out friendly journalists to shill for the school while Almontaser, Joel Klein and others sit back and calculate the effect.

Almontaser's use of Kowalchuk's email to justify her school to a skeptical public has now made him the "American military" face of KGIA in an attempt to reassure parents whose fears for their children's safety were only cosmetically addressed by the DOE with promises of "increased security."

It seems highly unlikely at this point for anyone with an interest in KGIA not to be aware of the controversial nature of the project and the Islamism of many of its key players.

1. Ms. Almontaser has a contemptible opinion of the President, Sgt. Kowalchuk's Commander in Chief:

"President Bush is trying to destroy the United States…He has abandoned our forefather's ideals of a society of freedom; democracy and pluralism build by immigrants. He is a nightmare." http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=almontaser41907%2Ehtm

2. The war on terror and America's foreign policy have been denounced by Almontaser as racist. She is unalterably opposed to both the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

"I have realized that our foreign policy is racist; in the "war against terror" people of color are the target." http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=almontaser41907%2Ehtm

Such a characterization equates service in the U.S. military with a racist act.

3. Almontaser blames the United States for the 9/11 attacks.

"Today I believe that the terrorist attacks can have been triggered by the way the USA breaks its promises with countries across the world, especially in the Middle East…in order to secure our own well being, deprive them of the possibility of achieving the same high living standard and freedom of choice that we have in the western world. Terror is the last resource of a desperate and oppressed people…" http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=almontaser41907%2Ehtm

4. Almontaser is a 9/11 denier; she has taught public school children that those who plotted the attacks and those who flew the planes that day were neither Arab nor Muslim.

"I don't recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims." http://www.jrn.columbia.edu/studentwork/cns/2002-06-10/584.asp

5. As head of KGIA Ms. Almontaser will oppose using the Arabic language skill acquired there to inform on and break up domestic terror plots and staff key national security institutions.

"a little while ago the FBI infiltrated our community, people speaking Arabic were spying on us. That has lead to new detentions."

Ms. Almontaser decried the prosecution and conviction of domestic terrorist Shahawar Matin Siraj in a plot to bomb the 34th Street Subway station in New York as reeking of "FBI tactics" her code words for using Arabic speaking undercover agents. [source http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=jihadschool41807%2Ehtm

This is the Cliff's Notes version of the case proving the Islamist nature of Khalil Gibran's principal to be, Dhabah Almontaser; there is much more which PLN documented in previous articles.

Under KGIA's organizing framework and under the indoctrinative methodology of its principal designate, Arab speakers coming out of the program will be dissuaded from applying their skills in a national security/military capacity.

Since Almontaser will brand KGIA with with a jihadist ideology, for Sgt. Kowalchuk to support the school while on active duty, raises fundamental questions about his personal judgement and ideological motives, which will be explored in future articles.


MIM: Below the NY Post article which appeared on Memorial Day.


May 28, 2007 -- As resistance in Brooklyn to a public school focused on Arabic language and culture persists, a U.S. soldier has emerged as its unlikely champion.

Army Sgt. Patrick Kowalchuk, 28, who has completed two tours in Iraq, intended only to support Khalil Gibran International Academy's principal when he wrote her an e-mail early this month.

But it soon evolved into a public-relations tool.

"American society desperately needs this bridge to Arabic language and culture, and I am glad there are visionary and courageous people like yourself who are laying down the framework," Kowalchuk wrote to the principal, Debbie Almontaser.

Almontaser recently read the e-mail, with Kowlachuk's permission, at a meeting of 100 parents of kids at Brooklyn HS of the Arts and Math and Science Exploratory School.

The Boerum Hill schools are already housed in the building that will become home to the new academy for the next two years - and the parents overwhelmingly argued that the plan would disrupt their kids' programs.

Kowalchuk told The Post parents must embrace the academy.

"If it were given a chance to prove itself, it could," he said by phone from Fort Carson, Colo., where he teaches Arabic to soldiers in his unit.

Kowalchuk said his Arabic proved invaluable in Iraq. He recalled befriending an old fruit farmer who had had no verbal contact with U.S. troops.

"We sat there eating apples and apricots and just talking. There aren't many people who can connect with Iraqis on that level," Kowalchuk said. "I became a person with a name to the folks I was speaking to, as opposed to just a presence."

In his e-mail to Almontaser, Kowalchuk offered to teach at the school. Almontaser will meet with him when he's discharged this fall, he said.

Similar arguments from parents at PS 282 in Park Slope, the initial site for the school, forced the Department of Education to consider a new venue.

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