Judge rules Minn. Islamic charter school must face ACLU’s suit

More potentially good news. via Judge rules TiZA school must face ACLU’s suit – TwinCities.com.

A federal judge on Wednesday shot down a Twin Cities charter school’s bid to dismiss an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit claiming it promotes Islam, clearing the way for a summer trial.

In a ruling spelling out why the 2-year-old case merits a trial, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank offered an unusually detailed account of close ties between the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy and the religious organizations that acted as its landlords.

TiZA strongly denies allegations that it promotes religion. Its lead attorney cautioned that the Wednesday ruling reflects ACLU allegations that the school will fight at trial.

“The school is looking forward to its day in court,” said the attorney, Shamus O’Meara. “There are two sides to this story.”

The ruling also saddles the school with about $2 million in legal fees incurred by co-defendants in the case — an expense O’Meara said could shutter the charter school, which has campuses in Inver Grove Heights and Blaine.

At a February hearing, Frank suggested he would let the case advance to trial and hold the school liable for the legal fees of two of its co-defendants, the Minnesota Department of Education and its authorizer. Both settled with the ACLU.

In the ruling Wednesday in St. Paul, Frank explained his decision. He also ruled the ACLU can demand the return of millions of dollars in taxpayer money the school has received from the state.

Frank’s ruling cites agreements in which landlords for TiZA transferred campus ownership, which suggests the landlords envisioned a religious purpose to the facilities. The ruling points out that the TiZA officers named in the lawsuit were also involved with the religious organizations that leased the facilities.

In a 2007 agreement transferring TiZA’s Inver Grove Heights campus, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and the nonprofit Minnesota Education Trust, or MET, agreed that the campus would “only be used for charitable, educational, religious and Islamic purposes within the limits ordained by the Quran.”

The following year, MET transferred the Blaine campus to a subsidiary, agreeing to pursue the establishment of schools with goals that would include the promotion of Islamic teachings.

In addition, Frank’s order points out, TiZA’s founder and director, Asad Zaman, has served in various leadership roles at the Muslim American Society and as secretary of MET. Asif Rahman, another defendant in the ACLU case, has served as a TiZA board member and president of MET.

“What we’ve been saying all along is that these entities are all the same company; it’s all the same people,” Samuelson said. “It’s fascinating to me that the judge has put that out there.”

O’Meara said some of the evidence the judge’s order cites seems to come from a sealed settlement agreement between the Department of Education and the ACLU. At a hearing next week, Frank will likely decide whether to approve the agreement and make it public.

“We’re talking about allegations the ACLU has submitted to the court,” O’Meara said. “We’re going to wait until that hearing to make a comment on them, other than to say we have a different position.”

Frank dismissed the ACLU’s individual claims against three TiZA board members, a decision O’Meara welcomed.

The school will likely appeal the judge’s decision that put TiZA on the hook for legal fees incurred by its overseer, Islamic Relief-USA, and the Department of Education in the ACLU case. O’Meara said the school’s insurance company apparently would not cover the co-defendant expenses.

“It’s a significant issue,” he said. “It would probably result in TiZA having to close.”

The ruling Wednesday does not explain what would happen should TiZA win the case.

The school and the ACLU have agreed on a June start of the trial, though a date has not been set. Frank has yet to decide whether he or a jury will eventually rule on the case.

If all goes well, taxpayers in Minnesota could get $20M back.

15 Responses

  1. Creeping,

    Yes, lets see how the secret Taliban wannabes at CAIR react, especially, if and when the school loses the law suite.

    By the way, the ACLU is also defending Terry Jones right to free speech

    ACLU files brief supporting Terry Jones
    http://detnews.com/article/20110422/METRO/104220421/ACLU-files-brief-supporting-Terry-Jones

  2. Wow, did someone spike the water at the ACLU headquarters? First they get the NJ transit worker his job back and now they are doing the right thing in questioning this Muzzie schools teachings. Its very clear what they teach in Muslim schools. Not the constitution for sure. Sharia law more likely.

  3. Oh yes, I forgot Terry Jones. ACLU also defending his right to free speech. Perhaps the ACLU realizes that once Sharia laws are in place, there won’t be a need for the ACLU. lol

    • Foxmuldar,

      Or perhaps they’re just following their principals. After all, free speech is worthless if it doesn’t include speech that most people find offensive, regardless of weather or not they have a good reason to be offended.

      • Not to mention the fact that the separation of church and state, was never meant to apply to just Christians. In the case of the Islamic Charter school, it only makes sense that they would oppose it, even if most of them know next to nothing about sharia law.

    • coincidentally, now that Patrick Poole and a DOJ employee have exposed Holder’s orders not to indict terror-linked CAIR both CAIR and the ACLU are suddenly defending both the NJT employee and Terry Jones… of course behind the scenes they have been fomenting the false bigotry/hate lies that have led us to this situation so they are clearly playing both sides of the fence… in CAIR’s case, possibly to save their asses or simply because they know now they can play both good cop and bad cop protesting in favor of sharia law and claiming to defend free speech when sharia is enforced

      • Creeping,

        Its kind of hard to believe that the ACLU is not sincere in either of these cases. They are going through a lot of trouble to fight this Islamic charter school and defend Terry Jones.

        • no one said they aren’t being sincere and they aren’t defending Terry Jones – they are defending his right to speak…where were they 2 years in a row when Acts 17 were denied their rights? how about the Leaving Islam ads? Or the SIOA patent? Totally absent. Is it not a coincidence they sent a Muslim rep out of all their employees and CAIR echoed their message? Is that sincere too or just politics/publicity?

          luckily, there are good, well-meaning people that work in the worst organizations…

          so what trouble is the ACLU going through? feeling heat from the communist funders?

  4. Glad to see this suit go on; the irony is that there are MANY religious schools in the US who have no legal problems overtly advocating their religious principles, because they are legitimately private schools that do NOT take any taxpayer money and are supported by tuition and their supporting churches / synagogues, etc. Minnesota citizens deserve to have their money back.

    • Knightlink Jetrunner,

      Stopping our tax money from funding Madrassas, in and of itself will be a victory. I dont’ won’t our tax money funding Islamic Dawa centers, especially for ones children. Not to mention it will be one more area where we don’t allow Sharia to supersede constitutional law.

  5. Well hot damn the ACLU is doing something for America…maybe. And one of the bloggers mentioned that they may be trying to stay in business. Sharia` law does not recognise any other entity and that would leave the ACLU nothing to do but the usual…REMOVING GOD and the Christian religion from everywhere in America!

  6. Wait: Muslim Man and Igor have yet to make an appearance!

    Muslim man you can guess his secret identity in the white house, and Igor is secretly our favorite catch and release the terrorist man, Eric Holder!

    We have yet to see his naturalization papers, our favorite from Kenya! His birth cert would not have gotten him into the states.

    Now, his father served in WWII. I suspect with the Mufti.

    Here is a nice picture of obama with his Islamic brothers!

  7. Hmmmm….How long before Holder comes to the rescue?My guess they’re already saddling his horse or is it a Camel?

  8. Good to see the “lawfare’ on the other sandal for a change.

  9. [...] Judge rules Minn. Islamic charter school must face ACLU’s suit (creepingsharia.wordpress.com) [...]

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