The Qatar Foundation International (QFI) granted $100,000 to a Texas school district to promote Arabic language and culture classes that begin next school year. This marks the third school district in Texas to accept funds from the Qatari non-profit’s global gift-giving arm.
The Austin Independent School District accepted the $100,000 from QFI to jump start new Arabic language and culture classes coming to three of its campuses in Fall 2016. The grant funds teacher salaries, curriculum development, instructional materials and unnamed resources.
Also, the University of Texas at Austin’s Arabic Flagship Program supports Austin ISD’s new Arabic classes. UT-Austin is one of four federally funded Arabic flagship college campus programs nationwide. Other participating universities are in Arizona, Maryland, and Oklahoma. The program started in 2000.
The Flagship Language program says it strives to prepare students to enter college with a “measurable” second language skill and to “push the model” to the elementary level, calling it vital to “educate a citizenry prepared to address the nation’s well-being in the 21st century.” The language program currently boasts 27 Flagship centers that provide a pathway to professional-level proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, and Turkish.
Last year, Breitbart Texas reported Al Jazeera creator Sheikh bin Al Thani, reputedly associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, created QFI. The organization gives to educational causes. In 2011, they partnered with the U.S. Department of Education’s Connect All Schools consortium “to connect every school in the U.S. with the world by 2016” digitally, which President Obama unveiled in his 2009 speech delivered from Cairo. QFI grants monies to over 20 U.S. schools in 10 states, reaching over 2,400 students.
Breitbart Texas spoke to Austin ISD District spokeswoman Tiffany Young to learn more about the district’s Arabic language and culture program. She said it was driven by “need” but that need accounts for only 497 students in a district of 84,000, reflecting only 0.6 percent of the entire student population. Interestingly, even that number appears to be down from 675 in 2013-14 based on an Austin KEYE-TV (CBS) report. At the time, an influx of Iraqi and Syrian refugee students certainly created a need — for Arabic speaking tutors in Austin ISD classrooms.
Despite the assertion of a large population of native Arabic speaking students driving the demand, this demographic was not necessarily factored in as a category in the recently released Austin ISD annual demographic study based on Fall 2015 data. The report mainly forecasted 10-year projections of Hispanic, Black, White, and Asian ethnicities.
Breitbart Texas also asked Young about what Islamic culture will be taught in these Arabic classes. She said “Unfortunately, it is too early to provide examples because the curriculum will not be developed until the summer.”
Middle Eastern Islamic “charities” have a long history of giving gifts with strings, which invariably include indoctrination to and idealization of Islam and the culture of Islam. Some of these charitable groups are associated with terrorist organizations, and they will demand that the curriculum align with their beliefs and teachings. There are many examples of schools or school districts that are dazzled by the money, and they acquiesce to the demands of these outside sources. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is famous for bullying school districts over curriculum content and viewpoint when it is discussing Islam, even if there is no money involved. With these “gifts” in place, the school districts have almost certainly boxed themselves into a corner and will do everything possible to keep the cash coming, even if it taints the curriculum.
And when Ms. Young indicates that it is “too early to provide examples of the curriculum because it has not yet been developed,” you can be sure this is a dodge and a fake, because it is unrealistic to accept money for curriculum development without having at least a general idea of what that curriculum will consist of.
The Qatar Foundation International may have only benevolent intentions in giving tens of thousands of dollars to the Austin school district, but it should be thoroughly vetted and controlled lest the money become an irreplaceable budget line item that influences local curriculum in an untoward manner. And it can certainly become more dangerous and damaging than selling a few cupcakes at lunch time to students who actually want what is being offered.