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She said she was stunned by the controversy last year, because the Twin Cities and her high school had been largely accepting.
During that period, the school held an open house offering neighbors pizza, soda and a tour of the school. Syed said the few who came were polite and that despite some initial questions, including “What are your ties to Al-Qaida and extremism?” they seemed to leave with a better understanding of the families’ mission: to educate and raise good children.
At its meeting late last June, the City Council approved the school’s permitting on a 5-0 vote, with one abstention and another council member absent, after hearing extensively from residents on both sides of the issue.
One opponent of the school, John Blucher, said recently, “I have been disappointed at what took place at the council meeting.”
He said he and the 80 people who signed the petition opposing the school for traffic and other reasons make up “practically the entire neighborhood.”
School has mayor’s backing
Mayor Tom Ryan defended the school then and now. He said he vividly remembers one Muslim man who spoke up.
“He said, ‘I am a Marine, I just got done fighting for this country.’ ” Ryan said. “We haven’t had a comment since that night, not one word. We haven’t had any complaints or any problems.”
Ryan said the families whose kids attend the school are ingrained in the community.
“They are attorneys. They are businesspeople,” he said. “I don’t understand all their ways and religious practices, but it’s a friendly atmosphere. They have always been very honest with me.”
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804