Private Islamic Schools in Tennessee
The Muslim Brotherhood’s plan also anticipated and set out details for the education of the “children of the American Ikhwani branch.” Ikhwan is the name that the Muslim Brotherhood uses for themselves.
Tennessee has several private Islamic full-day schools that offer an immersion style Islamic religious education in addition to secular studies. According to the Tennessee Code and State Board of Education rules that define non-public schools, these schools are considered “Category IV Church-based schools” and as such, are exempt from all education regulations. This means that the State Board of Education, Department of Education or local boards of education are prohibited from regulating the selection of faculty, textbooks or curriculum of these schools.
Pleasant View School, Memphis (PVS), pre-K – 8th grade
In 2010 PVS announced on its website that Dr. Hamed Ghazali had been hired as “the new consultant for PVS’ Islamic Studies, Quaran & Arabic.” Dr. Ghazali serves as Chairman of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Council of Islamic Schools (MASCIS), recognized as Muslim Brotherhood affiliates.
In 2004 MAS’ Secretary-General admitted in court, under oath, that MAS was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. MAS’ own archived website details its associations with the Muslim Students Association, ISNA and NAIT – all named organizations in the Brotherhood’s Explanatory Memo.
On page 12 of the Explanatory Memo it states:
“We have a seed for a ‘comprehensive Dawa educational’ organization: We have the Dawa’ section in ISNA….the center run by brother Hamed Ghazali…”
A Hamed Ghazali is listed individually in the Muslim Brotherhood telephone directory introduced into evidence during the HLF prosecution.
MAS is one of the organizations the UAE included on its terrorist designation because it is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
During the joint MAS – ICNA 2012 annual convention, Hamed Ghazali, told the audience in Arabic that “Allah gave us the Jews” as the primary historical and religious example of those who “take the wrong path.” A recent article described him as “taking a moderate approach to Islam.”
Ghazali spoke at the “Zakah Seminar” on December 6, 2014 at the Islamic Center of Tennessee. “Zakah” (sometimes spelled “zakat”) is the charity vehicle that was the subject of the HLF terrorism financing prosecution.
On April 8, 2012, PVS announced that Dr. Mohammed Malley was hired to be the new principal. Dr. Malley was the President of his university’s MSA. He later served with the Brotherhood’s, MAS- Austin Chapter.
Dr. Malley was introduced at a PVS fundraiser keynoted by Kifah Mustapha, an active member of the Chicago-area Muslim community. Mustapha was dismissed from serving as the first Muslim chaplain for the Illinois State Police after his ties to the HAMAS-support network were discovered. It was disclosed that he had been a paid employee for the Holy Land Foundation and is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF prosecution.
Annoor Academy, Knoxville, pre-K – 8th grade
The school’s 2013 promo video displays a row of textbooks titled “What Islam Is All About.” This textbook was written by Muslim convert Yahiya Emerick who said that he wrote this book in standard English to teach Muslim children living in the U.S. about Islam.
Emerick’s textbook, following the dictates of the Quran, warns students about getting too friendly with non-Muslims and denigrates Jews and Christians and their religions and beliefs. More than anything, Emerick offers Islam as a civilization alternative reflecting the Muslim Brotherhood plan for the West.
Emerick speaks at the ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) conferences. ICNA is among the 29 organizations listed in the Muslim Brotherhood plan. ICNA has long held its annual conferences in conjunction with the MAS (Muslim American Society.)
ICNA’s pursuit of establishing Islam as the “sole basis of global society and governance” was published in its 2010 Member’s Hand Book which also sanctioned deceit while proselytizing their way to this goal.
Mark Durie, theologian and human rights activist, cites Emerick’s textbook in his blog post about the Muslim Brotherhood agenda for establishing Islam, ie, the Muslim Brotherhood plan. . Durie explains that the Brotherhood’s plan is about succeeding in phases. He quotes Emerick’s textbook at p. 378 as “reflect[ing] the Brotherhood’s ideology of phases for establishing Islam.”
Nadeem Siddiqi, Chairman of the Tennessee Islamist political organization, the American Center for Outreach, is currently a board member of the Annoor Academy. Siddiqi works closely with the “unofficial” imam in Knoxville Rafiq Mahdi who also serves as the Director of Community Development for ICNA Relief USA, the charity arm of ICNA named in the Muslim Brotherhood plan.
Abdulrahman Murphy, a former CAIR intern who spent time training in Saudi Arabia, was faculty at the Annoor Academy until sometime in 2014. Murphy also worked with the UT Knoxville MSA and was a speaker at ISNA’s 2013 conference in Dallas. Both the MSA and ISNA are named Muslim Brotherhood affiliates. He is appears to be a very close associate with imam Suhaib Webb who was sent by the Brotherhood’s MAS to study at Al-Ahzar University in Cairo. Webb was then hired as the Imam for the Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) in Roxbury, a mosque managed by MAS-Boston. This mosque is the sister campus of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) mosque attended by the Boston marathon bombers.
Murphy and Webb both teach at the Ella Collins Institute at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). Webb’s associations included al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki.
Nashville International Academy (NIA), pre-K – 7th grade
The Islamic School of Nashville was established by the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) in 1995. In 1999, under the guidance of the ICN’s imam Abdulhakim Mohamed who had served at the radical al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn, New York. The school was renamed the Nashville international Academy and ICN advertised for a principal with the Brotherhood’s ISNA organization.
Even though the school did not meet Tennessee’s statutory criteria to be granted Category IV status, the State Board of Education approved their application in 2007 for this purpose.
In 2012 the warranty deed for NIA showed the owner as D.B. Client Service, LLC. Devon Bank in Chicago created D.B. Client Service to manage special clients. Devon Bank has been involved with sharia compliant financial products since early 2000. In 2008 it was reported that sharia compliant products made up more than 75% of the bank’s mortgage portfolio. Devon Bank products receive their Shariah compliant blessing from the Sharia Supervisory Board of America whose Vice-President is Mufti Usmani.
Usmani, is a jihadist who has ties to the Taliban and has called for jihad against the West. He is a central leader with the madrassa that produced the Taliban and he has publicly endorsed suicide bombing.
Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says “sharia finance is nothing less than ‘Jihad with money.’ As al-Qaradawi explains, ‘God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and with our money.’”
1.Tennessee’s church-related statute
Attendance in a “church-related school” as defined by Tennessee law is one way that state compulsory education requirements can be met.
To qualify as a “church-related school” according to Tennessee law (T.C.A. 49-50-801(a)), a school must be:
“operated by denominational, parochial or bona fide church organizations, and,the school must meet the accreditation standards or be a member of any of the organizations enumerated in the statute.”
The statute also permits a would-be church-related school to voluntarily seek approval directly from the State Board of Education (SBE). There is no language in the statute to suggest that going directly to the SBE allows an applicant to avoid the qualifying criteria stated above.
Section (b) of the statute prohibits either the SBE or local boards of education from regulating the selection of faculty, textbooks or curriculum of church-related schools.
The legislative history related to Tennessee’s statute on “church-related schools” reflects an intent to require that any church-related school, whether a member of one of the organizations listed in the statute or approved directly by the SBE, either go through an accreditation process or in some other way be accountable for the education provided to students in these schools. This requirement was of particular concern because the statute also prohibited the regulation of church-related schools by either the state or local boards of education.
Four of the organizations listed in the statute are either sectarian or non-sectarian accrediting organizations, another is an association that requires its members to adhere to detailed educational guidelines including standardized annual achievement testing, and two other organizations listed address the specific needs of students who are home-schooled in church-related schools.
Students home-schooled in church-related schools operate in accordance with what is referred to as the “Jeter memo”, an administrative interpretation of the church-related school statute. In part, the Jeter memo specifically stated that, “If the church-related school is unable to meet these [the statute’s] standards of accreditation or membership in the named associations, then the school is not a church-related school as defined in the statute.” The 1999 Jeter memo made no mention of the voluntary SBE approval process, but rather, cautioned parents to make sure that the school they choose meets the accreditation or membership requirements of the statute in order to be in compliance with Tennessee’s mandatory education attendance law.
2. Application Process
Currently, when an entity wishes to be established as a church-related school, it must submit an application to the SBE. The application requires listing the denominational, parochial or other bona fide religious organization operating the school and “the name and address of any accrediting association through which the school is accredited or in which the school holds membership.” The would-be school must also provide certification of compliance with building codes, fire safety and certain state Health Department regulations.
If a would-be school is neither accredited nor a member of the statute’s listed organizations, they can apply directly to the SBE for approval. After review by the SBE staff a recommendation may be made for approval at the SBE meeting. The section of the application regarding accreditation or membership is left blank. In this situation the SBE merely confirms compliance with safety regulations, etc.
3. The Nashville International Academy (NIA)
The NIA is an Islamic school located in Nashville. The cover page to the school’s application is attached.
The NIA application lists the “Nashville International Academy Shura Board” as the denominational, parochial or other bona fide religious organization operating the school. But the last section of the application page is blank because the Islamic school is not accredited by any of the accrediting organizations, not even the non-denominational accrediting agency. This was noted by the SBE when it approved the NIA application and this means that no outside agency or organization has reviewed what is being taught in this school.
The SBE also noted that the NIA is “operated by a bona fide religious organization affiliated with the NIA. Recall that the ICN is closely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood organization the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).