Controversy Rages Over Proposed Arabic Public School In New York

Saturday, April 14th 2007, 7:06 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) -- There are lots of small public schools in New York City focusing on themes such as the arts, or social justice, or sports careers.

But a new one that's slated to open in the fall is generating some controversy.

It's a public school that will focus on Arabic language and culture, and it's getting criticism from conservative Web sites and some members of the public.

Some critics say it will promote segregation. Others say it could become a hotbed of Islamic teaching. And some are just concerned about where it will be located.

The leader of the school -- a long-time educator who is a Muslim from Yemmen -- says the school won't promote any religion or any political ideology. She sahs it will encourage students to build bridges among various cultures.

It's named after Lebanese-American Christian poet Khalil Gibran, who promoted peace.