Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saudi supported school should be shut down: But will anyone do anything about it?

The Saudi Islamic Academy's most famous alum.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali

It's only a recommendation.
A private Islamic school supported by the Saudi government should be shut down until the U.S. government can ensure the school is not fostering radical Islam, a federal panel recommends.

In a report released Thursday, the
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom broadly criticized what it calls a lack of religious freedom in Saudi society and promotion of religious extremism at Saudi schools...

More at the link, including this:

The report also criticizes the school's administrative structure, saying it is little more than an offshoot of the Saudi Embassy, with the Saudi ambassador to the United States serving as chairman of the school's board of directors.

The structure "raises serious concerns about whether it is in violation of a U.S. law restricting the activities of foreign embassies."

After the Sept. 11 attacks, critics questioned the nature of the religious education at the Saudi academy. The school again found itself in the spotlight in 2005, when a former class valedictorian,
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was charged with joining al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate President Bush.

Abu Ali was convicted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is appealing his conviction.

See Abu Ali's alma mater here. I checked out the newsletters - let's just say that anytime I see words written in Arabic without an English translation in an American "school" I get nervous. The elementary school's newsletters don't provide translation. And the high school's? Well, they're very proud of their Mecca project...

The family of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, from left, Omar Abu Ali, father, Faten Abu Ali, mother, and Tasneem Abu Ali. I'm sure they're very proud of their son and brother.