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From the Blog
Charter school catering to Muslims complies with law
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The curriculum at a charter school catering to Muslims complies with federal and state law, the Minnesota State Education Department said May 19, but it directed other changes be made in religious areas.
The state said Tarik ibn Zayad Academy should change its busing schedule and its handling of Friday prayer services. The shorter prayer services on other days were found to be acceptable, but not the 30-minute service on school grounds on MuslimsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ holy day.
The department said bus rides home should be available right after school ends; currently students must wait until after a voluntary after-school religious program.
Minnesota law requires charter schools Ã¢â‚¬â€ publicly funded schools with more autonomy than traditional public schools Ã¢â‚¬â€ to be nonsectarian. The Education Department investigated after a substitute teacher alleged the school was offering religious instruction to students.
The school of about 400 students in shares a building with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and its mosque.
Asad Zaman, the schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive director, said it was significant that the review found no problems with the curriculum and the school will comply with the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s directives. "I believe this report vindicates what we have been saying all along in that we are not a Muslim school. We are not a religious school," Zaman said.