Debbie Almontaser

Debbie Almontaser is the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

Almontaser was forced by the Mayor of the City of New York to resign after a controversy arose over a T-shirt created by a group called “Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media”. The T-shirt had the words, “Intifada NYC” on it, which, according to the New York Post , was “apparently a call for a Gaza style uprising in the Big Apple.

To my mind a newspaper which is not partisan doesn’t exist. In Almontaser’s case, the New York Post is of course partisan but I think they are doing bad journalism. They distorted Almontaser’s words and they didn’t base their article on any proven facts.  The main quality of this newspaper is its capacity to sell papers and ads based on funny headlines. A newspaper that is known for these qualities should not have a big amount of influence on persons or organizations… And unfortunately, in that case, it had a huge impact.

I would like to say that it is possible to give a nuanced explanation of 9/11. I’m sure it is possible but in observing the cases of Ward Churchill and Debbie Almontaser we can constat that it is not possible to speak about 9/11 without being fired from your job or insulted from a certain patricotic community.

Those two cases show that the 1st amendment in the US is sometimes not respected.

Almontaser was only a few degrees away from Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media who produced a T-shirt that was probably widely misunderstood by the American public, why had she been related to that organization? During the Post interview, Almontaser said to the reporter, Chuck Bennett, that the Arab women’s organization was not connected to her or the school, and that she would never be affiliated with any group that condoned violence. I really don’t understand why she was fired, she had no connections with that organization.

In the case of Almontaser versus the New York Post, I’m siding with Almontaser. The New York Post article was a great example of bad journalism. Why the Department of Education made her do the interview with the New York Post? Why this story didn’t go to a newspaper that would have given her a fighting chance?


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