Islamic Saudi Academy

Islamic Saudi Academy

Infobox Education in the United States
name= Islamic Saudi Academy

imagesize= 216px
streetaddress= 8333 Richmond Highway
city= Alexandria
state= Virginia
zipcode= 22309
principal= Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan
fundingtype= Private
grades= Pre-K to 12th
language= English & Arabic
campus= Suburban
founded= 1984
bgcolor_section= #BBDDBB
bgcolor_label= #BBDDBB
bgcolor_value= #EEEEEE
bgcolor_address= #EEEEEE
bgcolor_url= #EEEEEE

The Islamic Saudi Academy is a prep school in Virginia, accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It has classes from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade, and has a current enrollment of more than 1,200 students.]


The school was founded in 1984. It has campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia. The Fairfax campus has pre-kindergarten through first grade classes and the Alexandria campus has grades two through twelve. The school is bilingual, with classes in English and Arabic, and a combined American and Middle-Eastern curriculum. Classes are segregated from third grade onwards. The school holds a Prince Bandar chapter of the National Honor Society.

Programs and activities

The school's curriculum includes Islamic studies, Islam for beginners, Arabic language, Arabic ASL, Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, Computers, Art, English, Social Studies, and Physical Education. The school also has an Advanced Placement Program and an English as a second language program.

The ISA is a member of the Northern Virginia Independent Athletic Conference (NVIAC), and participates in the basketball and soccer leagues, fielding both boys' and girls' varsity teams. The school has 3 football fields. [] The school is a supporter of the Mount Vernon Youth Athletic Association, an all-volunteer community program that uses athletics to teach discipline and good citizenship to area youths.

The school participates in various educational and leadership-oriented extracurricular activities. There is an annual science fair and a Shakespearian drama program. Students are active participants in the Model United Nations program, the Presidential classroom program, Future Business Leaders of America, and various other programs.


The ISA has repeatedly been accused of promoting terrorism. The tabloid "Philadelphia Daily News" nicknamed ISA 'Terror High'. [cite news
last = Bunch
first = William
pages = 11-14
publisher = Philadelphia Daily News
date = 2005-02-23
accessdate = 2006-10-11

On February 23, 2005, the day after Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, ISA's valedictorian in 1999, was indicted on terrorism charges, New York Senator Charles Schumer issued a press release questioning whether the ISA was "another madrassa". Madrassa is the Arabic word for school, but in America the term is often associated with the teaching of radical Islamic theology. Senator Schumer sent letters to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. [ [] ]

In October 2007, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the US State Department to shut down the ISA on the grounds it teaches religious intolerance. The Commission accused the ISA of promoting religious intolerance that could prove a danger to the United States. The Commission was not able to review the ISA's teaching materials because ISA officials refused to make them available. In response ISA official stated that they had removed offensive passages from the books the previous summer, but did not explain why they had refused to make the books available to the Commission. [ [ Washington Post] Article: State Dept. Urged to Shut Saudi School in Fairfax] Officials of ISA criticized the USCIRF, saying that the panel unfairly damaged the school's reputation. [ [ Washington Post] Article about ISA's response to USCIRF report from October 2007]

Textbook passages

In June 2008, another USCIRF report stated that textbooks at ISA teach students that it is okay for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, and also teach that, "The Jews conspired against Islam and its people." [ [ USCIRF Report] ] [ [,2933,366246,00.html Fox News] ] [ [ Bloomberg] ] ISA officials dispute the process and conclusion of the report. [ [ ISA press release] June 13, 2008]

Land lease

ISA's campus is leased from the Fairfax County government on a year-to-year lease, and the issue has occasionally been raised that perhaps Fairfax should not continue leasing the land "if" the ISA's textbooks do promote terrorism or intolerance. On June 23, 2008, Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors made a formal request to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to determine if Fairfax County should continue to lease the land. [ [ Washington Post] : Article discussing Fairfax County's request to the State Dept. regarding the land lease to the ISA.]

Notable individuals connected to ISA

*Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, director of the academy, was arrested June 9, 2008, and charged with failing to report a child abuse allegation and obstruction of justice. [ [ Washington Post] Article about the arrest of Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan] On July 24, 2008, Al-Shabnan pleaded no contest to the failure to report charge in exchange for the obstruction charge being dismissed by the prosecutors. [ [ Washington Post] Article about resolution of charges against Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan]

*Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, valedictorian of the academy in 1999, was convicted on charges of providing material support to the al Qaeda terrorist network. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. His defense team argued that his first confession in Saudi Arabia had been extracted under torture, but the judge ruled his confession admissible. Courts have upheld his conviction but pushed for a longer sentence. [ [ Reuters] Article: Court upholds conviction in Bush al Qaeda plot]

*Ayman Shawky, a former footballer and a participant in the 1990 World Cup, is now a teacher in the physical education department and is also the coach of the varsity soccer team.

*Susan L. Douglass, a former social studies teacher at the school, wrote social studies textbooks for the International Institute of Islamic Thought. The Institute was raided by the FBI in 2002 in relation to suspected terrorist links. [ [ World Net Daily] Article: Look who's teaching Johnny about Islam]


External links

* [ Official ISA website]
* [ ISA Mission Statement]
* [ NY Times: Trial Starts For Student In Plot to Kill President]
* [ Baltimore Sun: Repost of cited article]
* [ Newsweek: Saudi sponsorship of ISA and its textbooks.]

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