Saturday, September 01, 2007

"A Simple Test"

John L. Allen Jr. shed light this week on a story out of New York City.
It's set in Brooklyn, where heated debate is swirling around a new public school offering instruction in Arabic and Arab culture. Proponents style it as a way of fostering diversity, while critics insist that it will indoctrinate youth in Islamic radicalism and terrorism. (I've posted stories on the controversy at and, and more coverage is appear in the Sept. 7 issue of NCR, which is at the printers now.)

Mr. Allen offers background for a level-headed appreciation of this "new public school offering instruction in Arabic and Arab culture." The result is irony:

Here's the irony: this alleged beachhead for jihad is named for a non-Muslim, an early 20th century Lebanese poet whose writing is about as close to religious fundamentalism as, say, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. ...[This] academy may be a lot of things, but a crucible of religious radicalism it's probably not.

Discover who this poet is at Mr. Allen's weekly posting of "All Things Catholic," and more about the earlier moments of the story at the links he included above.

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