Islamic Saudi Academy - Innocent until proven guilty

We would like to express our deepest concerns on the recent events and news involving USCIRF recommendations towards the ISA campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax. The recent recommendations of USCRIF to shut down the ISA campuses has caused great anxiety and fear among the parents and community members concerning lack of any due process granted to the school in handling of this issue. Of most concern to us, as parents and as Americans, is the commission\'s underlying assumption that the academy is teaching intolerance and violence to its students. Like the rest of the parents in America, we want our children to learn to love and respect others. As Americans we strongly believe in everyone\'s inalienable right to practice religion of their choosing. As concerned parents and good citizens of the society we share the common dream of instilling values of compassion, tolerance and respect of human rights by teaching our children to appreciate the diversity that makes ups the fabric of our great country. We greatly appreciate commission\'s concern about the curriculum offered at ISA campuses as it is very important that children grow in an environment that promotes mutual love and respect for others. If any institute is teaching hatred, intolerance, and promoting violence, it should be investigated and closed and ISA must not be an exception. However, if ISA is not promoting these negative values, it, like other schools, should be allowed to operate in compliance with the local and national regulations. In order to think through the above dilemma, we must direct our attention on the evidence on which the recommendation has been based. The assumption was made that ISA campuses in Virginia, United States, is following the same curriculum that is being taught in Saudi Arabia. This assumption should have been established by taking further steps such as by visiting ISA campuses, interviewing the staff, and reviewing the text books etc. Unfortunately, the commission did not take the steps necessary to substantiate their preliminary conclusion and never visited ISA facilities or the management. Based upon this observation, we feel the commission\'s analysis of the situation is incomplete which makes the conclusion unfounded and consequently recommendations questionable. We strongly feel that the hasty recommendations of the commission deprive ISA of the due process and foster presumption of guilt without any evidence of wrongdoing. During these times of heightened sensitivities, the premature conclusion of the commission has also invoked great concerns about children\'s physical security and well being. There are already reports from students of unwelcome approaches by strangers in the context of commission\'s report. We now fear that the children will be exposed to the type of prejudice, intolerance and violence which the commission is trying to curb. The media hype surrounding this issue has also been damaging to the reputation of the school and future prospects of its students. ISA has been serving the area for over 23 years teaching students with diversified ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Students at ISA are taught by faculty and staff representing a mosaic of faiths including Christians and Jews. To the best of our knowledge neither faculty nor any of the parents have ever reported any textbooks or curriculum that espouses violence or intolerance to the kids. It will be important to know that most of the parents choose to pay hefty tuition and other expenses to send their kids to this school because we believe that ISA is providing its students the best education possible to make them the finest community members of our country. We strongly feel that the hasty recommendations of the commission deprive ISA of the due process and foster presumption of guilt without any evidence of wrongdoing. We sincerely hope that USCIRF would review its recommendations towards ISA and give it the very due process and presumption of innocence until proven guilty, which is the hallmark of the American judicial system. -ISA Parents, faculty, students and community members

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ISA Parents, faculty, students and community members

Links

Here are few links to USCIRF and media reports: USCIRF Seriously Concerned About Saudi Academy, Oct. 19, 2007 http://www.uscirf.gov/mediaroom/press/2007/october/USCIRF_Recommends_Opening_Diplomatic_Talks_on_Saudi_Government_Run_School.html School Officials Say U.S. Panel\'s Call for Closure Hurt Image http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/15/AR2007111502324.html

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    seo service, Russian Federation

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    2 years ago Comments: Please stop guilt by association of the whole community and its institutions.
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