School accused of promoting Islam countersues ACLU

A controversial charter school in Inver Grove Heights accused of promoting religion with taxpayer money is countersuing the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Earlier this year, the ACLU sued the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or TiZA, alleging the school illegally promotes religion by doing things like holding prayer during class time.

The lawsuit followed months of controversy, including claims by a substitute teacher that students were being led in school-sanctioned prayer.

Now, the school has countersued.

TiZA, which has about 400 students on campuses in Blaine and Inver Grove Heights, serves mostly immigrant children from Muslim countries. The vast majority are from Somalia.

TiZA officials say religious activities at the schools are optional. They said the lawsuit has prompted students to withdraw from the academy and that at least 10 prospective teachers withdrew their job applications, leaving the school short staffed. The school is now seeking more than $100,000 in damages from the ACLU.

Read more here