Page B6 WaPo Story: Islamic School Chief Guilty for Not Reporting Child Abuse

Imagine if the principal of a Catholic school in the metro D.C. region was found guilty of failing to report an allegation of child sexual abuse. It'd be considered worthy of front page news for the Washington Post, at the very least a front pager for the paper's Metro section.

Yet reporting the conviction of Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan on July 31, the Post buried the story on the 6th page of the Metro section. Here's how staffer Tom Jackman opened his story:

The director general of a controversial private Islamic school in Fairfax County has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse and fined $500.

Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, head of the Islamic Saudi Academy on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, was arrested last month by Fairfax police, who said Al-Shabnan had been informed of the possible sexual abuse of a 5-year-old student at the school. School authorities are required by law to report alleged child abuse within 72 hours.

Al-Shabnan was charged with misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse and obstruction of justice. He pleaded no contest July 24 to the failure to report charge, and Fairfax prosecutors agreed to dismiss the obstruction charge, according to court records.

Al-Shabnan did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday. His attorney, Robert C. Whitestone, said, "We thought it was a fair resolution."

The Islamic Saudi Academy has come under criticism because some of its textbooks contain passages that extol jihad and martyrdom, call for victory over one's enemies and say the killing of adulterers and apostates is justified. The academy has rented the school from Fairfax County since 1984, and the county recently renewed its lease for three years.

Of course the radical Islamic conception of martydom is a 9/11-style attack or a suicide bombing, not the traditional definition that calls to mind the stoning of St. Stephen or the crucifixion of the Apostle Peter.

What's more, not once in his story did Jackman note that the "private" Islamic Saudi Academy is actually organized and financed by the government of Saudi Arabia, although he did note that "[t]he county has asked the State Department to review the school's texts." From Adam Cochran over at Counterterrorism blog (emphasis mine):

Rep. Wolf cites information about the direct links between the ISA and the Saudi Embassy: "The school's lease with Fairfax County plainly indicates that one of the school's properties is being leased by 'the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia d/b/a/ (doing business as) the Islamic Saudi Academy.' The school's other property is owned by the embassy. Further, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. chairs the school's board and the school uses the Saudi Embassy's Internal Revenue Service employer tax number."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters