TUSD accepts funds from group with ties to Muslim Brotherhood

At last week’s Tucson Unified School District Governing Board meeting, District administrators asked the Board to once again accept grant money from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI). The money, from the group closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood is intended to implement “innovative curricula and teaching materials to be used in any Arabic language classroom.”

The Qatar Foundation International, which awards the Curriculum Grants, is an Arabic/Islamist group that seeks to promote Sharia culture and has undeniable ties to two terrorist organizations whose mission is to destroy America, Western ideology and anyone who does not agree with their extremisms,” Pat Sexton, president of Arizona Latino Republican Association, said after last year’s award acceptance.

QFI is a nonprofit group financed by the government of Qatar. The Washington D.C. based organization is the U.S. branch of the Qatar Foundation, which was founded in 1995 by Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, according to various news reports. Thani is also the founder of Al Jazeera.

The Qatar Foundation launched the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in January. The Center’s director Tariq Ramadan. Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was banned from the U.S. until 2010 when the Obama administration issued him a visa to give a lecture at a New York school, according to various news reports cited by Lewis.

The Qatar Foundation has also named several institutions after a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi has proclaimed himself “Mufti of martyrdom operations.”

While Al-Qaradawi’s claims to promote moderation, “he has openly permitted the killing of American troops in Iraq and praised the “heroic deeds” from “Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades, and others,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

The London newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, reported Israeli claims that Al-Qaradawi was funding “the heart of Hamas,” the Al-Islam Charity, through his Welfare Coalition. He has also pledged to fight the United States if it attacked Iran, stating: “When America threatened it [Iran], I said I am against America. Iran has the right to possess peaceful nuclear power, and if America fights it, we would stand up against it [America],” according to IPT. IPT also claims that “Al-Qaradawi is known for advocating the overthrow of Western capitalism.”

Al-Qaradawi is reported to have said, “We have our own economic philosophy and system which others do not have. The collapse of the capitalist system, which is based on usury and securities rather than commodities in markets, shows us that it is undergoing a crisis and that our integrated Islamic philosophy, if properly understood and applied, can replace Western capitalism.”

In 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood and its association with MEChA became an issue in TUSD during the appeal of the finding by Superintendent of Public Instruction (SOPI) that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies classes violate state law. The district’s superintendent testified at the appeal hearing as to an email he received from Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lupita Cavazos-Garcia. In the email, Dr. Garcia expressed her concerns regarding MEChA’s efforts to recruit primarily the district’s Mexican American Studies students for an occupied peoples’ conference at which Palestinian and TUSD students would be sharing their experiences living in occupied territories.

Dr. Garcia wrote that she was concerned about the organization’s “anti-Semitic tone and tenor on our campuses.” She went on to state that the some of the district’s students have little emotional support and “our Raza students are ripe for this kind of influence.” Concerns arose about the conference in the district when word went out that Homeland Security would be in attendance. Some of the more responsible adults in the district questioned the wisdom of allowing TUSD students to be put in a situation in which they might innocently come under scrutiny, suspicion, or harm.

Dr. Garcia and other educators expressed concerned about the un-American leanings of MEChA, the well documented anti-Semitism exercised and expressed by its associates, including the Muslim Brotherhood which has partnered with MEChA in forums on university campuses across the country.

In 2010, Congressman Raul Grijalva, former TUSD Governing Board member and current Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, called pushed the IB program. He said, “This is a great opportunity for Tucson schools to lead the way in modernizing their curriculums and meeting the needs of the modern economy,” Grijalva said. “Arabic language and culture are a major global phenomenon, and helping students understand and study it at an early age is both wise and necessary.”

According to Board members the request for the award was buried in a consent agenda, and did not appear to be what it turned out to be.