State to probe if public is paying for mosques
The TiZA charter school threatens to sue for defamation.
by Tony Kennedy
August 29, 2009
Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, said officials will study Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy's (TiZA) use of state "lease aid" grants, which were created more than a decade ago to help charter schools rent adequate facilities.
"If it is subsidizing a mosque, in our view, that would be a violation of state and federal law," Anderson said.
The probe is the latest in a series of church-vs.-state conflicts involving TiZA and several Islamic nonprofit organizations with ties to the charter school.
Anderson said the inquiry was sparked by a lawsuit filed against the school this year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, which claims taxpayer dollars paid to TiZA are unconstitutionally promoting religion.
TiZA spokesman Darin Broton said the school will cooperate, but he accused officials of conducting a politically motivated investigation. He said the department has conducted 19 TiZA inquiries in the past year and a half.
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Related Topics: Lawfare in the United States
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