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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2005

Schumer: Is Saudi Academy In Virginia Another Madrassa?

Islamic Saudi Academy Graduate Accused of Helping to Plot Killing of President Is Not the Only Instance of School’s Potential Links to Terrorism Urges Saudis to Disclose Funding and Nature of Academy Immediately

Today, Sen. Charles E. Schumer questioned whether the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, is another example of radical Islamic madrassas funded by and linked to terrorism here and abroad. Yesterday it was reported that a recent graduate, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, of the Academy was indicted on charges of providing material support to terrorists and in conspiring to assassinate the President of the United States. Sen. Schumer immediately called for an investigation into the funding of the Academy by the Justice Department, and is now urging the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, Prince Bandar, to further disclose the nature and funding of the school.

“We need to know if the Islamic Saudi Academy is another example of the Saudi government turning a blind eye to terrorism. I hope that the ISA is not another madrassa in the United States,” Schumer stated.

Schumer said in his letter to Prince Bandar, “Because it is my understanding that the Islamic Saudi Academy receives a significant portion of its funding and curriculum guidance from your government, I ask for your assistance in fully disclosing the nature of this academy -- what does it teach, from where does it receive funding, and to what extent it may be serving as a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment -- and, possibly, even terrorist activities.”

The letter addressed other instances where the ISA was linked with potential terrorist activities:

- A former comptroller of the ISA, Ismael Selim Elbarasse, has been referred to by authorities as a high-ranking Hamas operative who was arrested in August while videotaping the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and has been implicated in efforts to channel financing to international terrorist activities.

- In March of 2002, ISA graduate Mohammad Osman Idris was charged with lying to a U.S. grand jury investigating whether he and another ISA graduate planned to take part in acts of terror or violence against the State of Israel. The grand jury was investigating whether Idris was attempting to provide key support to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

- In August, the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism called on the ISA to remove a textbook used to teach first-graders that stated that Judaism and Christianity are false religions.

Schumer urged the Saudi government to investigate this matter and stated, “These incidents represent a repeated pattern of potential linkages between individuals associated with ISA and terrorism that is disturbing. I urge you to assist in the full disclosure of the means through which the school is funded as well as the tenets of its curriculum, and to take action to immediately remedy these concerns. Finally, I would also ask whether your government is funding any other schools within the United States that may be engaged in the type of intolerant teaching reported to take place at the ISA.”

Click here to view Schumer's letter to Prince Bandar.

Click here to view Schumer's letter to Attorney General Gonzalez.

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