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A flurry of news media reports last week highlighted a Harlem public elementary school that will become the first in New York to require students to study Arabic.

Entirely unreported is that the organization that co-created and funded the Arabic language program for the New York school, WND has found, maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, while the group’s founder also started the Al Jazeera television network.

The Qatar Foundation International, or QFI, a nonprofit group financed by the government of Qatar, gave Harlem’s Hamilton Heights, a K-5 public school, a $250,000 grant to support the Arabic program for three years.

The school’s Arabic language program was reportedly developed by QFI and the the Global Language Project.

In addition to the Harlem school, WND found that QFI just awarded “Curriculum Grants” to seven U.S. schools and language organizations to “develop comprehensive and innovative curricula and teaching materials to be used in any Arabic language classroom.”

The schools include Bell High School, a Los Angeles public school, and Safford K-8 in Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District.

QFI, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. branch of the Qatar Foundation, founded in 1995 by Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani.

Thani is still the group’s vice-chairman, while his wife, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairs the organization’s board.

Thani also launched Al Jazeera in 1996 and served as the television network’s chairman.

The Qatar foundation is close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In January, it launched the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics under the guidance of Tariq Ramadan, who serves as the center’s director.

Ramadan is the grandson of the notorious founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna. Ramadan was banned from the U.S. until 2010 when the Obama administration issued him a visa to give a lecture at a New York school.

The Qatar Foundation, meanwhile, named several institutions after Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many regard Qaradawi as the de facto spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The foundation instituted the Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi Scholarships and in 2009 established a research center named the Qaradawi Center for Islamic Moderation and Renewal.

Qaradawi has personally attended scores of foundation events, including conferences at which he served as a keynote speaker.

Qaradawi achieved star status because of his regular sermons and interviews on Al Jazeera.

Two weeks ago, Qaradawi was in the news after he told Egyptian Muslims it was their religious duty to vote for one of three Islamic candidates in the country’s presidential election, describing them as the “best for Egypt” because they will “apply the Islamic Shariah and achieve justice.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism documents how Qardawi openly permitted the killing of American troops in Iraq and praised the “heroic deeds” of “Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades and others.”

Reports by the London newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat repeated Israeli claims that Qaradawi once served to fund “the heart of Hamas,” the Al-Islam Charity, through his Welfare Coalition.

With additional research by Danette Clark and Brenda J. Elliott

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