Va. Residents Say Saudi Academy Teaches Hate

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The Saudi Islamic Academy in Fairfax, Va., was founded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The Islamic country is one of the worst human rights violators in the world.  It is also the birthplace of al-Qaeda, and a nation where the Bible is banned and Christians can be executed.   

The academy has been a source of local concern for years as a breeding ground for terrorists.  Saudi textbooks at the academy were found to include anti-Semitic and violent teaching. Academy officials plan to greatly expand the school. 

The decision is up to Fairfax County, and residents packed a board of supervisors meeting last week to voice their opinions.   

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition castigated the board for ignoring the threat the academy poses.   

"Will there be a time in the future when you actually address the well-documented, hate-filled teachings at the academy, instead of reflexively attaching those citizens who lay the facts before you?" she asked.

Resident Lynn Falk, who lived in Saudi Arabia, also opposed the school expansion.

"If they want to go to our schools, that's fine," she said. "But to support them in their agendas and their styles of life and their absolute lack of a moral values system is appalling," Falk said.

But school officials said the academy is not hateful or in tolerant toward anyone. The students and teachers at the school sound anything but dangerous.  

"We don't learn any of this stuff you guys say," student Haya Jaradeh said. "We don't learn about killing others. We don't learn about torturing others, you know. We learn about being peaceful to each other and respectful."

Mossadaq Chughtai is the father of students at the academy and said his kids do not live under strict Islamic law.   

"That's absolutely false. My kids are as American as they can be," he said. "They go out. They dance. They do everything kids you see on the street doing it. They wear jeans. They don't wear hijabs. There is nothing like this," Chughtai said.  

But the academy has some less than distinguished alumni.   

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the school's valedictorian in 1999, was convicted of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush.   

At least three other graduates have been charged with terrorism-related activities. The Saudi Islamic Academy took over the facilities of Fairfax Christian School, which was denied a request in the 80s to expand on the same location by the same county board.   

That board is scheduled a vote on the expansion August 3.

*Originally aired July 21, 2009.

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