Sunday, August 27, 2000

Islamic school to be built

Private academy will be open to all denominations

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — The Tristate's first Islam-based school soon will begin to rise from an excavated lot in this Butler County community.

        Construction of the $3.5 million International Academy of Cincinnati has begun adjacent to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati off Plantation Drive. The academy aims to eventually hold 240 students in grades kindergarten through 8.

        And while the school is scheduled to open for classes in fall 2001, center officials are poised to begin preschool classes next week.

        “This is a new challenge for us ... getting it started from scratch,” said academy Principal Sardar Tanveer, a recently retired professor emeritus from the University of Cincinnati's College of Education.

        Mr. Tanveer said he hopes to see a diverse group of youngsters when the school opens.

        “It will be open to all denominations. We hope to attract them by developing a quality, international academy,” he said.

        Karen Dabdoub, administrator for the Islamic Center, said more than half of the $3.5 million cost for building the academy has been raised through individual and corporate donations.

        Followers of Islam are called Muslims and there are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 Muslim residents in Greater Cincinnati, and an estimated 1 billion Muslims worldwide.

        Though instruction in Islam will be incorporated into parts of the academy's curricula, which will emphasize foreign language instruction in Arabic, German, French and Spanish, it will not supersede teaching of other religions.

        “Children who are not Muslim will also have the chance to learn about Islam and take part in the high academics we will have here,” Ms. Dabdoub said.

        Tuition for the private school is expected to be about $6,000 per year.

        The 40,000-square-foot academy building, which will feature Islamic-architectural flourishes, is being built near the Islamic center's mosque. The mosque stands just west of Interstate 75 in southeastern Butler County.

        Preschool Montessori classes begin Monday at the Islamic Center and openings remain. Call 755-0169 for student registration information.


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