I am deeply suspicious of the ulterior motives of the group proposing the Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School.
At the public hearing, which I attended and at which I spoke, both Twin City school department superintendents testified about misrepresentations in the school's application to the Maine Charter School Commission. The Lewiston School Board chairman noted that no community people were there in support. The mayors of both cities have come out against the school.
I spoke and warned about taqiyya, the Islamic practice of deceit being allowed, even mandated, in the Qur'an if it is necessary to advance Islam.
There are published reports that the Pioneer School in Massachusetts, which the proposed school is modeled after, has ties to the Gulen network, which is led by Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher Fethullah Gulen. Although members of the proposed school's board of governors denied that, they did say they are "inspired" by Gulen.
That's troubling to me.
The public knows little about Islam and Gulen, and there are questions about the Pioneer School's finances and of visas for the teachers there.
The whole Gulen movement is secretive, according to a "60 Minutes" report in May 2012. Information available online paints a potentially terrifying scenario of cultural jihad, metastasizing into the fabric of our society.
Charter schools use taxpayer dollars at a much higher cost per student. Lewiston-Auburn may well be served by a charter school, but not this one.
It will be up to the public to provide the Maine Charter School Commission with input.
Jared Bristol, Hebron
Editor's note: Public comment can be submitted to Bob Kautz, executive director of the Maine Charter School Commission, at MCSC@maine.gov. The commission is scheduled to vote on the L-A proposal and two other proposals on March 3. For more information, go to: http://www.maine.gov/csc/