Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, who is currently working on ensuring missing Somali terrorists' safe return to US, has been very cagey about who paid for his pilgrimage to the haj and why. The Star Tribune breaks the story wide open. Dirty dealings indeed. Why did it take eight months for an ethics investigation? No elected official should be accepting such accepting such pricey gifts, particularly from those with questionable ties and ill-gotten taxpayer monies.
The cost of his Mecca trip was covered by a group that got taxpayer funds in a rental arrangement for TiZA school.
WASHINGTON - Days after his return from an unannounced pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison talked about it as a transformational personal experience, saying "I didn't want to turn it into a politics thing."
But Islam is a political system.
Nearly eight months later, the Minneapolis DFLer faces a House Ethics Committee review of his decision to keep the trip's costs under wraps -- even though it was paid for by a local Islamic nonprofit and typically would be reported as a gift to a public official.
Asked about the trip Tuesday, Ellison said that he is "not privy to the internal workings of the organization" that covered his costs, and that he complied with all House Ethics panel disclosure requirements. "Why should I waive a right that's accorded me under the rules?" he said.
Tax records show the group that paid Ellison's expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.
The man who accompanied Ellison to Mecca, Asad Zaman, is executive director of the TiZA school, a political contributor of Ellison's and was president of the Muslim American Society until August, when the Mecca trip was planned.
TiZA has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and probed by state officials for allegedly promoting Islam, which would violate the church and state separation required of public schools -- including charter schools.
The school received state funding to pay rent to the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp., a nonprofit spinoff of the Muslim American Society that owned the building. The corporation then turned over $879,000 to the Muslim society as a grant.
Those close connections have opened Ellison to questions about the nature of the trip. Ellison on Tuesday called it "a private trip," adding that he had told the ethics committee of the trip beforehand and received its approval.
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, who chairs the K-12 Education Finance Division Committee, said the state funds were intended to help charter schools rent space.
She said she is troubled by the large grants to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whether or not the money can be tied directly to Ellison's trip.
"It calls into question the sensibility of the people who lead the school," Greiling said. "And to send Keith Ellison off to Mecca just compounds it."
State officials say the arrangement illustrates long-standing concerns about the relationship between charter schools and the affiliated groups who hold their leases.
Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner for the state education department, said that state law does not regulate how lease dollars are spent by such property-holding corporations.
"While this type of relationship is legal, it is nonetheless concerning," she said of the TiZA payments.
TiZA, which also has a campus in Blaine, received an estimated $4.7 million in state aid this year, including more than $520,000 in annual lease aid. The school also got more than $873,000 in federal charter school grants last year.
Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, said the flow of any public funds to a sectarian group that funded a public official's trip to a religious site heightens the questions Samuelson's group has raised about the separation of church and state.
"The group that paid for it [the trip] gets a large part of its money from the public trough," Samuelson said.
Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy Update: ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, ties to the missing Somali jihadists -- and complaints about losing the substantial amount they get from the state! "Two on TiZA: Using taxpayer money for the Stealth Jihad?," by acorcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch, July 22 (thanks to herr Oyal):
TiZA is the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy. We told you about the Minnesota charter school before, here. Thanks to reader Mars for alerting us to them, below are two recent stories to bring us up to date on the ACLU lawsuit against the school and its founders—the Muslim America Society (MAS), Minnesota chapter.
It might be useful for readers to first visit this 2004 article from the Chicago Tribune to understand how the MAS sprang from the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. The lengthy investigative report was one of the first things I read when I began studying the issue of Islam and its plans for us. I think you will be as stunned as I was to see what the goals are and for how long the stealth jihad has been going on in the US.
The first of my two articles today is from Katherine Kersten who is obviously the expert on the TiZA. I can't believe I am cheering for the ACLU.
The ACLU of Minnesota made headlines in January when it sued Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), a public K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights. The suit — which followed media reports of organized prayers and a pervasive religious environment at TiZA — alleged that the school is violating constitutional prohibitions against government endorsement of religion.
“It’s a theocratic school,” state ACLU director Chuck Samuelson told City Pages. “It is as plain as the substantial nose on my face.”
In the six months since the suit was filed, TiZA has fought tooth and nail — erecting procedural barriers to prevent the ACLU from investigating what goes on there.
The school’s efforts to avoid public scrutiny are part of a well-established pattern.
The reasons for TiZA’s obsession with secrecy may become clear if the ACLU prevails on pending motions regarding its “standing to sue.” A court ruling is expected soon.
Now, can you believe this, Kersten says the TiZA issue ties into the missing Somali youths case. Here is how:
The ACLU suit may reveal a Minnesota public school that is funneling state funds to an activist Islamic organization, and has connections to a controversial imam whose mosque is under scrutiny in the case of the disappearing Twin Cities Somali youths.
….A key figure here is Imam Hassan Mohamud, a founding TiZA board member and “director/developer” who has served as the school’s board secretary. According to news reports, he is also director of MAS-MN’s Islamic Law Institute. In 2006, he signed the MAS-MN “fatwa” forbidding Muslim airport taxi drivers from “cooperating in sin” by transporting passengers carrying alcohol.
Mohamud serves as imam at Minnesota Dawah Institute in St. Paul — a target of scrutiny in the missing youths case. Some of the missing boys’ parents say “their sons spent a lot of time” at Dawah Institute, according to National Public Radio. Mohamud has denied that the mosque played any role in the disappearances. In January, he told the Star Tribune that no one from the mosque had left for Somalia “except one man who went for his health.”
After you stop laughing, consider the fact that lying for the sake of Allah is permitted in Islam. It is another one of those Islamic laws that people raised with the Judeo-Christian concept of the Ten Commandments can’t get our heads around.
Our second TiZA story today was actually published a few days before Katherine Kersten’s article and in it we learn that TiZA is now suing the state of Minnesota which is threatening to cut off over a million dollars from the stunning $4 milion the school got in 2008-2009. TiZA likely figures this is infidel money which they, as superior Muslims, deserve.
There is much more. Read it all.