May 19, 2006
Turning from bananas in schools to more serious issues, I should begin this post by stating that I do not go about looking for child molesters under every table, any more than I look for terrorists in every mosque. (Regular readers probably know this, but I'm hoping the rest will keep it in mind.)
Last week I went to the Zoning Board hearing I mentioned twice in my discussions of a Saudi madrassa in the neighborhood. At the hearing I saw lots of testimony by angry neighbors, which included complaints that a man identified as a sex offender was listed (pursuant to Megan's Law requirements) as living at the madrassa's address, and had been seen by neighbors.
The sex offender issue seemed to be of much more interest to the Zoning Board than a later attempt to raise questions about possible connections to terrorism of people allowed to use the madrassa. (Questions about the latter were deemed "irrelevant" by the hearing chair, although it was late at night.)
As might be expected, the local newspaper account (in a writeup headlined "Allegations of Megan's Law violatio stall Islamic foundation's expansion plans") focuses on the sex offender-related testimony:
VILLANOVA - Citing concerns over possibly allowing a registered sex offender on their property, neighbors last week objected to a plan to add a school, retreats and other activities on the grounds of the Foundation for Islamic Education in Villanova.In addition to the above, voting records were submitted which purportedly showed that 15 to 17 people lived on the property, yet the Foundation's spokesperson stated that the Foundation had no idea who most of them were. In response to numerous questions about religious retreats held regularly, it was admitted that no records were kept about the retreats. Neighbors are concerned that strangers are allowed to use the Foundation's facilities without any information being kept about them or the possible agendas of the retreats.
Obviously, no one with a history of being a sexual offender should be connected with any school. Nor should anyone with any connection to terrorist activities. While I have no personal knowledge of what goes on inside the school, the testimony at the hearing made me feel less than confident that this school does a good job of policing itself.
EIGHTH GRADEI don't know what teaching material is being used in the local madrassa, but I can only hope it's not stuff like that.
posted by Eric on 05.19.06 at 09:51 AM
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