INGRAHAM: In the “impact” segment tonight, blurring the line between church and state at public schools. That’s exactly what one teacher said was happening at a Minnesota charter school that caters to Muslims. So the State Department of Education looked into it and found two problems, including communal prayers for the students. When a local news crew went to the school to report on this controversy, they were confronted by two men, who tried to wrestle their camera away. The question — are they trying to hide something?
Joining us now from Chicago is Ahmed Rehab, who is a spokesperson for the Council on American- Islamic Relations. Ahmed, great to see you.
AHMED REHAB, CAIR SPOKESMAN: Thank you very much. Good to be on.
INGRAHAM: Ahmed, I’m thinking about, let’s say, a charter school that exists that is housed in the same building as a Catholic school and shares property with Catholic relief services, Catholic charities, let’s say. And I’m thinking about Catholic prayers, after school and school buses being delayed for those prayers. And I think to myself oh, my goodness, the ACLU and the Americans for Separation of United, you know, separation of church and state would go ballistic over this. So what’ s the difference here?
REHAB: Let me tell you, I think the — I reckon “The O’Reilly Factor” must be having a really slow news day, because there’s really no controversy here whatsoever. You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Basically, there were allegations leveled against the school. There was a pending investigation by a neutral entity, and objective entity. That the investigative team by the State Department of Education. And the results of that investigation found only two minor violations, nothing major, nothing of the sort that was described in the segment. And so there is no problem.
INGRAHAM: Wait, wait, wait. Hold on, Ahmed. What are you saying was described incorrectly in the leadup to this story? It was factual. They have been investigated. A reporter, a columnist from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Katherine Kirsten, who we hope to get on the show, she went to try to interview the school officials. She has been the subject of a vicious campaign, including calls for her firing as a columnist just because she has some questions about the way the school operates. My question is if this were a Catholic charter school, which again has to be nonsectarian and a Catholic church with Catholic charities housed in the same property, I think everyone would be asking questions and legitimately so. I don’t think it’s anti-Muslim. I think it’s just factual.
REHAB: Well, let me tell you, there were questions asked and asked by the right entity. The Department of Education’s investigative team. And they provided answers. And in their answers, there was no such issuing of a problem or a description of a problem that the school was housed in a religious establishment. There were only two problems mentioned. One is the Friday prayer. The other is the use of the school bus for these activities.
INGRAHAM: Right, well, right. Friday prayer is a pretty big deal. I mean…
REHAB: Well, let me talk.
INGRAHAM: …students in schools across the United States and parents have hoped to be able to have a moment of silence in public schools. The Supreme Court said we couldn’t do that. So the idea that you just say oh, it’s just prayers, that was no big deal, that actually is a big deal. In the Supreme Court jurisprudence, that is the law of the land.
REHAB: Listen, every day there are entities out there, companies or schools that are found to be in minor violations of certain laws. Once investigations are pending and once they’re done, the schools are notified or the entities. And in most cases including in this case, they are more than willing to comply. And so there is no issue here.
INGRAHAM: Well, yes, Ahmed, if there’s nothing going on…
REHAB: They acknowledge the problem.
INGRAHAM: …then why attack the cameramen? Why have individuals wrestle a camera to the ground?
REHAB: I’ll answer that in a second.
INGRAHAM: Hold on, Ahmed, hold on. Why the vitriol against Katherine Kirsten? Why not open up the school and say come on in, Minneapolis Star Tribune, KTFT, the television network, come on in, you know, welcome. We open our doors to you. What are they trying to hide? Why are they going after reporters, columnists, and television crews? To me that looks paranoid?
REHAB: No, I’ll be glad to answer that . First of all, let me state to you that assistant education commissioner Morgan Brown has stated that the school staff and board of directors have been very accommodating and very compliant.
INGRAHAM: Katherine Kirsten can’t get an interview . She cannot get an interview.
REHAB: Let me now answer your other two questions. First of all, in regards to the so-called interview that they tried to carry with the school on the grounds, the camera attacked the grounds without further notification or prior notification. I think it is basic journalistic ethics.
INGRAHAM: Wrestling the cameraman to the ground. He had to get medical help. REHAB: You don’t film students in a playground, Laura. And you know that very well…
INGRAHAM: Well, two imams found this…
REHAB: …you have admissions from the school or from the parents.
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, I mean…
REHAB: OK, and so they were trespassing. What do you do with trespassers? You hand them a bouquet of roses. They were trespassing on private ground.
INGRAHAM: Well, this was a charter school and funded by the taxpayers. So this is not private property. That’s the big problem here.
REHAB: And it won an award for its management.
INGRAHAM: Taxpayers pay for it.
INGRAHAM: Mr. Rehab, we’re running out of time. We really do appreciate your joining us. And plenty more ahead as “The Factor” moves along this evening. An illegal alien with a rap sheet kills a Houston cop. We’re going to hear from his widow. This is a sad, sad story about a broken immigration system. And did Clint Eastwood intentionally exclude black soldiers from his World War II films? We’re going to look at those charges. And we hope you stay tuned for those reports.
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