(Islamic) High School U.S.A.

September 6, 2009

Author: Dalia Desouky

Source: The Washington Post


Last month, the Islamic Saudi Academy won approval to expand its 34-acre Popes Head Road campus in Fairfax County. The project generated familiar concerns regarding traffic and other development issues, but it also rekindled debate about the school's curriculum. In 2007, a congressionally appointed body found that some textbooks contained passages intolerant of Judaism and other religions, as well as language that could be interpreted as supporting violence. ISA officials have said that the school does not teach intolerance and that they have since addressed those course materials.

This is one student's perspective on the school and the controversy:

When I think about returning to high school for my senior year this month, a sea of thoughts rushes through my mind. I see familiar hallways and rooms that I could navigate with my eyes closed. I picture my classmates and the conversation and laughter that accompany their presence. I think of teachers who turn into friends or second parents. I feel a sense of security and warmth knowing I'll walk among these people every day.

But hearing words such as "hate," "extremism" and "terror" used in discussions of my school disturbs these pleasant thoughts. It doesn't add up. How could the school that I know and love -- the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax -- be associated with such horrible notions?

See also: Islam, Schools, Zoning