First incorporated in the state of Florida in 2003, the American Youth Academy (AYA) is a co-educational school for Muslim children (kindergarten through 12th grade) based in the Temple Terrace suburb of Tampa Bay. AYA describes itself as “a non-profit organization dedicated to educating our community in the Greater Tampa Bay area.” It is an outgrowth of the Islamic Academy of Florida (IAF). Soon after IAF was suspended from receiving taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers because of its numerous ties to the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), it began doing business under the new name, “American Youth Academy.”
AYA was set up as an Islamic elementary/secondary private school (just like IAF), and its corporate address put it directly adjacent to IAF, though it is difficult to determine exactly where one property ends and the other begins. As was reported in the Tampa Tribune, the American Youth Academy “uses the same buildings, desks, books and equipment as the Islamic Academy [of Florida]. Nearly half the teachers and many students are the same.” One of AYA’s Directors, Ayman Barakat, was a longtime Director of IAF. Moreover, both entities shared the same phone number.
Under its new name, the American Youth Academy — having created the illusion of separateness from IAF — was able to collect the taxpayer-funded vouchers that were being denied to IAF. Before long AYA was receiving more vouchers than any other school in the Tampa Bay area. In 2005 alone, Florida taxpayers furnished AYA with $332,500 for its elementary/secondary program, and $2,500 per child for its Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program.
According to courtroom documents, in December of 1999 Ibrahim Khader, one of AYA’s new Directors, gave $1,900 to Palestinian Islamic Jihad defendant Sameeh Hammoudeh, who told Khader that the money would be used to help “orphans” (i.e., the surviving children of Islamic suicide bombers).
As of 2007, some 300 students were enrolled in AYA. The yearly tuition cost at that time was $4,400 per child.
AYA offers its students an extensive Quran and Arabic program, as well as an Islamic Studies program that exhorts pupils to “[c]ontribute to the establishment of an Islamic society.”
Other academic disciplines taught at AYA include English, math, science, and social studies. The sociology program focuses considerable attention on the alleged injustices, inequities, and prejudices of American society, particularly with regard to issues of race, gender, and class. For instance, the sociology curriculum requires students to: “outline the characteristics of the American class system, and discuss poverty in the United States”; “describe the characteristics of minority groups, and identify types of minority group treatment”; “discuss the experiences of various minority groups in the United States”; “understand the nature of prejudice and discrimination”; and “determine the characteristics of social inequality based on gender, age, and health.”