The state Education Department on Monday directed a Minnesota charter school to “correct” two areas related to religion at the school.
Tarik ibn Zayad Academy, which focuses on Middle Eastern culture and shares a mosque with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, came under fire after a teacher alleged that the school was offering religious instruction in Islam to its students.
“The Minnesota Department of Education goes to great lengths to make clear to charter schools and their sponsors that, while schools should appropriately accomodate students’ religious beliefs, they must be ‘nonsectarian’ under the state’s charter school law,” said the state’s education Deputy Commissioner Chas Anderson.
The allegations first surfaced after an article by a columnist for the Star Tribune. The Education Department subsequently began a review of the suburban Inver Grove Heights school and released its findings Monday.
The agency said it was concerned about the school, with about 300 students, accommodating communal prayer and providing transportation to an after-school religious program.
“We have directed the school to take appropriate corrective actions regarding these matters and will continue to provide oversight to ensure that the school is in compliance with state and federal law,” Anderson said.
In an attempt to report about the new findings from the Department of Education, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS went to TiZA. While on school grounds, our crew was attacked by school officials. The two men were able to grab our camera and kept it until police arrived.
Our photographer was treated by paramedics after suffering minor injuries.