A federal commission reported the academy uses textbooks which advocate violence against and intolerance of non-Muslims. TVC has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate activities at the academy and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' role in leasing the county-owned building to the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
Islamic Saudi Academy Director Arrested for Obstruction of Justice
June 16, 2008
On June 9th, Fairfax County Police arrested the Director General of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA), Mr. Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, on the charges of Obstruction of Justice without Force (VA Code 18.2-460). Charged and released on the same day, Mr. Al-Shabnan is out on his own recognizance as he awaits his first hearing at Fairfax County General District Court on August 1, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.
Mr. Al-Shaban's arrest stems from an investigation into the ISA's alleged failure to comply with State requirements for reporting child abuse. According to authorities, instead of reporting the child abuse, Mr. Al-Shabnan deleted the report, contacted the student's parents, and recommended psychological counseling for the young victim. Mr. Al-Shaban's June 9 arrest comes after a May 23rd police search of the ISA where they gathered evidence that has contributed to the charges against Mr. Al-Shabnan.
Years of Controversy Continue
The ISA has been at the center of controversy for many years. A 2007 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report recommended to the State Department to call for the closure of the school. The 2007 USCIRF report prompted a coalition of concerned grassroots organizations to request the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to delay the renewal of the ISA lease until a Federal investigation into the ISA was completed. During the May 19 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors hearing, County Supervisors dismissed concerns as slanderous, bigoted, and unfounded. During the course of the hearing, Gerald Connolly, Fairfax County Chairman and Democratic Candidate for the 11th Congressional District, apologized to Mr. Al-Shabnan for what he deemed slanderous accusations that impugned the integrity of the Islamic Saudi Academy.
Only Supervisor Gross has responded to the issue, and she continues her support for the ISA, and its textbooks that contain passages filled with hate and incitement to violence. Chairman Connolly has yet to retract his apology to the ISA and Mr. Al-Shabnan. Supervisor Hyland has not yet commented on whether the texts cited in the USCIRF report are the similar to those he identified as "texts of concern" during his independent and undocumented investigation of the ISA.
These hateful passages remain despite a 2006 US State Department request for the ISA to remove all insensitive and offensive content from textbooks. The ISA's non-compliance with the 2006 US State Department request has not been accounted for and raises concerns about what the ISA, as an extension of the Saudi government, considers offensive, and the level of accountability they have to their local hosts and Federal government.
Since the US Treasury Department still considers Saudi Arabia as one of the leading financiers of terrorism, and USCIRF reports identify Saudi Arabia's education as filled with incitements to murder as a religious freedom, the US State Department has not commented as to whether they will extend this policy and allow Iran and North Korea to open official schools in the US as well.
The ISA has run afoul of Virginia law before in hiring a bus driver, Abdelrazeg Abdalla, who had a suspended license, seven traffic violations, a misdemeanor for kidnapping his wife and child at knife point, and a six month detainment by Homeland Security. Nevertheless, the ISA hired Mr. Abdalla as a bus driver. Mr. Abdalla, operating a faulty ISA, bus was responsible for a 2005 multi-car accident.
Additionally, the ISA winner of the superlative Most Likely to Be a Martyr, and 1999 class valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, has been convicted on charges of terrorism and attempting to assassinate President Bush. On June 6, 2008, that conviction was upheld by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Of Note in the video of the May 19 meeting: 42:58 Fairfax County Chairman Connolly charges of slander remarks 49:35 Supervisor Gross: Latin can be violent and Parochial Schools contain material as equally offensive as the ISAs. 1:02 Supervisor Hyland begins testimony about why and how they're is no documentation on his investigation
STATEMENT FROM THE ISLAMIC SAUDI ACADEMY IN RESPONSE TO THE U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2008) – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) once again issued an erroneous report about the Islamic Saudi Academy. The report contains mistranslated and misinterpreted texts, and references to textbooks that are no longer in use at the Academy.
The Islamic Saudi Academy has provided an excellent education for thousands of students in the greater Washington metropolitan area. Graduates of the Academy have been accepted at many top academic universities and colleges in the U.S.
The Academy welcomes dialogue and constructive criticism, and has always had open lines of communication with governmental bodies and with the community. It has made its textbooks and curriculum available for review by third parties, including the Fairfax County Board of Education. It has held open-house events for congressional offices and the media.
The Academy has repeatedly extended invitations to the USCIRF to visit its campus, review materials and meet with teachers and administrators, in order to establish a constructive dialogue. But the USCIRF has refused to accept these invitations, which speaks volumes about the seriousness of the commission's intentions. http://www.saudiacademy.net//html/pressrelease1.html
MIM: The ISA mission statement:
The mission of the Islamic Saudi Academy is to enable our students to excel academically while maintaining the values of Islam and proficiency with the Arabic language. The Academy endeavors to provide a caring, challenging and supportive learning environment where students can achieve their highest potential while exhibiting civic responsibility and multicultural appreciation.
ISA will be the premier educational institution for the Saudi and Muslim community for grades PreK-12 in the United States.
Create opportunities for our students to embrace, internalize, and practice the moral values established in the Holy Qur'an and the exemplary life of our Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.)
Provide a safe and stimulating learning environment that promotes an atmosphere of cooperation, trust, and dignity.
Encourage students to serve others both within our school and in the larger community.
Teach and promote respect and appreciation for cultural differences and the natural rights of mankind.
Nurture and inspire creativity, self-direction, self-discipline, and self-esteem.
Instill a thirst for knowledge.
Develop critical thinking and practical application skills needed for life-long learning.
Qur'anic Memorization: Surat al Muzzammil and Surat al Furqan. Qur'anic Recitation: Surat al Anfal and Surat al Tawba Tawhid (Islamic Creed): Students study the following topics:
Riyaa (Pretentiousness) and its evils
Believing in the Attributes of Allah SWT and Respecting them.
Avoiding the act of ridiculing the Qur'an and what it teaches.
The Rules of Intercession: What is accepted and what is rejected.
Hadith (Prophetic sayings and actions): Students study hadiths which deal with the following topics:
The Rules of Cleanliness
Behavior in the masjid.
Actions which erase sins
The Description of the Beleivers
Humility and magnanimity.
Limits of Gender Interaction.
Fiqh (Islamic Law and Jurisprudence): Students study the lawful and prohibited boundaries in food, drink and dress. Tafseer (Qur'anic Exegesis): Students study the following topics from various Qur'anic verses:
Family Law (Marriage and Divorce).
Manner of cooperating with other Muslims
Benefit of donating to the needy for the sake of Allah.
MIM: ISA's chairman of the board is the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States.
Governance of ISA rests with a Board of Directors whose charter establishes the purpose and the mission of the school and oversees the educational and administrative operation of the Academy. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America serves as Chairman of the Board. The Board of Directors carries out its responsibilities under established by-laws, which operate within the precepts of Islamic teachings. Within this framework, the Board provides direction and guidance to every aspect of the Academy.
The director-general, principals, business manager and department of education form the Administrative Committee of the Academy. This committee is responsible for the daily operation of the school. The Administrative Committee also assists in the supervision of Arabic Language and Islamic Studies Departments in meeting the curriculum used in the Arabic and Islamic world. The principals, with the assistance of the Director of Education and the Department Heads, provide leadership and direction in all aspects of the Academy's programs.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Mr. Abdalla Al-Shabnan
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE:
Business Manager: Mr. Abdullah Al-Muhanna
The Business Manager is responsible for financial matters, property management and use, personnel records, legal reviews, and other business affairs. The Business Manager is a member of the Administrative Committee and provides financial assistance and/or advice as requested.
The Business Manager's Duties and Responsibilities:
Assist the Director General in preparing the operating and capital budgets and serves as a senior financial advisor. Supervise the implementation of all annual budgets and strategic financial plans as approved by the Board of Trustees. Direct and oversee the work of the Finance Manager, Purchasing Manager, Personnel Manager, Cafeteria Manager, Computer Specialist, Maintenance and Plant Operations Manager and the Transportation Manager. Direct the operation of facilities at the Academy. Recommend policies relating to compensation and benefits programs for all employees. Prepare annual salary and wage recommendations for all employees. Formulate and recommend personnel policies and policy changes. Direct and monitor the ISA's in-service development and consultant resource programs for the non-professional staff. Assign non-professional personnel in consultation with other administrators. Keep abreast of the local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Initiate and direct personnel research activities. Perform other administrative and financial tasks as directed by the Director General. Has purview over phone system operations and mail distribution.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:
Rahima Abdullah : K-12 Divisional / Curriculum Supervisor
The Department of Education guides the development of curriculum for both the elementary and secondary schools, aids in the screening of all professional personnel, supervises the professional development program for all instructional staff members, and provides new and returning teachers with an orientation to the operational requirements and cultural values of the Academy. The Department of Education also supervises the certification process for all faculty members at the ISA in conjunction with the Virginia State Department of Education. The Education Division supports the instructional program by coordinating the Home Education Program for Saudi students who are staying in public and private schools in the United States, and who will be returning to re-enter schools in Saudi Arabia.
HOME STUDY PROGRAM:
The Home Study Department was first established in 1995, within the administrative framework of ISA, to look after the education and testing of Saudi students in different states. The Home Study Department provides them with curriculum, school books, and administers the tests at all levels, and issues students with the required certificates and credentials. ISA faculty, supervised by the Home Testing staff, create and oversee the administration of the tests and exams for Home Study students. Scoring of exams and tests is also a responsibility of the Home Testing Staff. The number of students working with the Home Studies Program has increased steadily over the years. Students who receive certificates from the Home Study Program have the opportunity to enter Saudi Universities. Students travel with their parents to Washington, to prepare and take the Home Study tests. http://www.saudiacademy.net//html/Admin-Committee.html
MIM: The ISA administration:
Director General Mr. Abdullah Al-Shabnan
Director Of Education Department Ms. Rahima Abdullah
Personnel Mrs. Nadia Yousef
Business Manager Mr. Abdullah Al-Muhanna
Head of Social Study Department Ms. Delores Rader
Admission Mrs.Nabila Olibah
Principal Of Girls School Mrs. Farida Turkistani
Head Of Arabic Department Mr. Ahmed Almelhem
Manager Of Home Study Program Mr. Abdullah Al-Muhanna
Assistant Principal Of Girls School Mrs. Dana Nicolas
Head Of Computer Department Mr. Omar Nahari
Finance Manager Dr. Samy Musa
Principal Of Boys School Mr. Abdulrahman Alghofaili
Head Of English Department Mr. Kathleen Doyle
Assistant Principal Of Boys School Ms. Nafeesa Husain
Head Of ESL Dr.Walid Abu -Ulbah
Head Of Islamic Study Department Dr. Dawood Abdulrahman