On Thursday June 4, the ACLU-MN had its first hearing regarding the TIZA case. In February of this year the ACLU-MN filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), its sponsor Islamic Relief and the Minnesota Department of Education stating that the charter school has violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by using taxpayer money to illegally promote religion. We argue that TIZA has been shown to advance, endorse and prefer the Muslim religion over other religions or nonsectarian approaches in connection with school activities. The complaint was filed by ACLU-MN cooperating attorneys Peter Lancaster from Dorsey and Whitney. Dorsey attorneys Christopher Amundsen and Ivan Ludmer are also working on the case. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss this spring.
At the motion to dismiss hearing on June 4, the defendants' main argument was that the ACLU-MN did not have standing (on behalf of its members as taxpayers) to file the lawsuit. The ACLU-MN argued that we did in fact have standing and that if we as taxpayers paying for the school did not have standing, no other individual would challenge the school's unconstitutional practices. The judge will issue his decision within 45 days.