Public Charter School Accused of Being a Religious School

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy is a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights.  Star Tribune columnist, Katherine Kirsten, writes that, “Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food – permissible under Islamic law — and “Islamic Studies” is offered at the end of the school day.”  School buses don’t leave until after extracurricular activities at the school, including Islamic Studies is over.  In the article, Kirsten cites teacher Amanda Getz as a source on what happens in the school, including prayer led by administration and teachers in the gym, teachers escorting students to perform ritual washing and the treatment of Islamic Studies as a part of regular coursework. 

Minnesota Atheists strongly value our Constitution and the Establishment Clause.  While, at this time, it is unclear whether there has been any Constitutional violation, and further investigation is necessary, Minnesota Atheists would be concerned about a misuse of public funds for religious activities.  By protecting the secular nature of public education, the rights of citizens of any faith, and of no faith are upheld.  We support any effort to ensure citizens, especially children citizens, are not discriminated against by our government.

If you have further information about TIZA, or are aware of potential violations of the Establishment Clause in public education, please write to us at  We have experienced members who could point you in the right direction if further action seems warranted.

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