To the Editor:
The recent controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, set up to teach Arabic language and culture in addition to the usual courses, has unleashed unfounded attacks against the NYC Department of Education's new high school, accusing it of being a madrassa and a haven for Islamic extremism ("A Madrassa Grows in Brooklyn," April 24 and "Madrassa Plan Is Monstrosity," May 1).
These attacks have also been personally directed at KGIA's principal, Debbie Almontaser. The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of working with Ms. Almontaser through our anti-bias workshops.
Through joint coalition work in Brooklyn against hate crimes, she has demonstrated her support for the civil liberties of all people. She is deeply committed to creating an inclusive learning environment that embraces the unparalleled diversity in New York City.
To help support this goal, we are in discussion with Ms. Almontaser about implementing our A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute anti-bias training in KGIA.
The school's Arabic language requirement, combined with conflict resolution and international diplomacy training, opens the possibility of creating a well informed generation of leaders.
The Khalil Gibran International Academy is just one of several in the New York City school system devoted to teaching a specific language and culture; the others include Russian, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
These schools are open to all students and those who choose to attend can be enriched by the added dimension.
Joel J. Levy
New York Regional Office