State Superintendent Delaine Eastin
California Department of Education
721 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Superintendent Eastin:
We are writing you to express our deep concern and outrage over state funding of the GateWay Academy charter school system. There are indications that this school is linked to an Islamic terrorist group and that the school has violated the First Amendment by teaching religion in this state-funded school.
The GateWay Charter school superintendent is Khadijah Ghafur. According to published news reports in the Fresno Bee of January 6, 2002, Mrs. Ghafur is an officer of the Muslims of the Americas, (MOA), a virulently anti-Semitic, Islamic extremist group. According to Newsweek, MOA has served as a corporate front for another group founded by Sheik Jilani, the terrorist organization Al-Fuqra, whose members have committed firebombings and murders on U.S. soil. The state department describes Al Fuqra as an Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence. We are deeply concerned about this tie between the charter school superintendent and the MOA. For further information about the Muslims of the Americas, please read about MOA in their own words on ADL's website at: /extremism/moa/default.asp
The suspected linkage of GateWay and MOA is also suggested by the connection of the Muslims of the Americas and the Qu'ranic Open University, which were both founded by Sheik Jilani. The Miramonte Learning Center, a GateWay charter school, is located within the gated Muslim enclave of Baladullah. Until September of 2001, Baladullah also contained a campus openly marked as a Qu'ranic Open University. For further information about Al Fuqra, you can read ADL's report at: /extremism/moa/al-fuqra.pdf.
Aside from this suspected linkage to terrorist groups, we are extremely concerned by allegations that GateWay schools have engaged in open teaching of religion using state money. In an article in the December 17, 2001, the San Francisco Chronicle pointed to direct evidence that religion was being taught at a GateWay school. The reporter found that the Sunnyvale chapter of GateWay school had Korans in the principal's office, as well as childrens' books entitled "My Little Qu'ran." Allegedly, students reported studying Islam and praying in class with teachers. As charter schools, GateWay schools are prohibited by the First Amendment, the California Constitution, and state law to instruct their students in religion. State funds may not be used for public religious instruction.
We urge you to investigate these allegations seriously, and to immediately suspend funding to GateWay schools. If our organization can provide further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Regional Board Chair