The NYCLU today commented on the opening of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the city's first public school dedicated to the study of Arabic language and culture. The following can be attributed to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
"By all accounts the creation of the Khalil Gibran International Academy should raise no greater concern than any of the dozens of other theme schools that the Department of Education has created to improve the quality of education for children in New York City. There is no evidence of discrimination in the admission of students. There is no evidence that the school will promote religion. And there is a good deal of evidence that the organizers of the school thought long and hard about creating an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity.
It is indeed ironic that a school funded in part by a federal program to meet a pressing need for Arabic studies, should be the target of attack because it seeks to do just that. It would be unfortunate if an undertaking designed to foster education and tolerance was thwarted into a success story for the ethnic and religious prejudice against Arabs and South Asians that has been far too prevalent in post-911 America."