Christian Action Network

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Former Christian school location now the center of Islamic school controversy

(Christian Action Network) The question posed Wednesday, Oct. 24, by a CAN News reporter to Fairfax Christian School founder Robert Thoburn in Fairfax, Virginia, may have been unfair.

“I find the question insulting; of course I would not – why would I do that?” he said in answer to whether he would sell the school property to Islamic extremists with known ties to terrorism if the offer was several times its value.

Fairfax Christian years ago did sell its former location to an Islamic academy that is now the center of controversy brewing around a government commission on religious freedom report on the Islamic school’s curriculum.

So the hindsight begins, reaching back to a time long before September 11, 2001 – back to 1983, when Fairfax Christian sold its 11121 Popes Head Road property to the government of Saudi Arabia – a handsome offer made through a realtor not revealing the Saudi identity of the buyer before the deal’s final arrangements.

“The realtor put a price down that was about four times what the property was worth,” Thoburn said. “I thought, if these people are crazy enough to buy it (for that), then I’m crazy enough to sell it; and it turned out to be the Saudi Arabian Embassy.”

Thoburn has dealt in many property transactions, and his focus for Fairfax Christian was to provide a dream-come-true property for the school to move to, thrive and grow on, believing it was a part of God’s purpose.

An additional sidebar to the story is the level of difficulty the school, and other Christian ministries, have encountered in Fairfax County, according to Thoburn. “They’ve been discriminating against churches for a long time in this county, there’s nothing new about that,” he said.

Fairfax Christian lost approval of a preferred plan for the school’s location, and settled on a second plan that worked out well. “It is politics – it’s not just the government, it’s people,” Thoburn said, “and it’s always important to remember, God is still in control.”

Through those years, the Islamic Saudi Academy grew free of such hindrances, with no apparent difficulty emanating from Fairfax County government.

CAN President Martin Mawyer put the transaction in a broader historical context. “Back in 1983, it is unlikely that any pastor would have been aware of Saudi Arabia’s buying property this way, replacing a Christian school with an Islamic academy that has turned out at least three terrorists so far,” he said. “Pastors need to be aware of it today, though.”

Mawyer referred to three known cases of Islamic Saudi Academy alumni, including the arrest and conviction of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a National Honor Society member and 1999 valedictorian voted by senior-year classmates, “the most likely to become a martyr.”

Abu Ali, 26, confessed in 2005 to his recruitment by Al Qaeda operatives in a plot to assassinate President George W. Bush, stating the plot put to him by an Al Qaeda leader was, “Preferred… because it was easier to carry out since the President often appears in public places,” he said.

Today, the Islamic Saudi Academy West campus on Popes Road teaches kindergarten and first grade, a secondary part of the nearly 1,000-student enrolment. Its main campus is at 8333 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.

The school claims high academic and community standards, involvement in the National Honor Society and in sports, with league competitions that include other private schools, and local charities such as and the United Way.

Child Curriculum and class assignments posted online include colorful animation and art, attractive friendly characters welcoming children “to embrace, internalize and practice the moral values established in the Holy Qur’an and the exemplary life of our Prophet Muhammad,” according to the academy’s stated beliefs.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, having an advisory roll to Congress and the U.S. State Department, warned of a far different body of curriculum information, noting material handed over by concerned alumni and parents connected to the school.

[A full story on the commission report follows]


October 26, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

1 Comment »

  1. I find it very odd that Mr. Thoburn didn’t get the hinkies at the buyer’s identity not being revealed until the end of the deal.

    Comment by Always On Watch | October 27, 2007 | Reply

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