Virginia Education Secretary defames parents’ group as using rhetoric of ‘hate groups’


On Aug. 14, 2020, Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni replied to an email from a parent at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology who had expressed concerns about the proposed changes to TJ admissions. He accused members of the Coalition for TJ, a mostly minority parent group,  “rhetoric of white supremacists and hate groups” and of bullying and slander.

He went on say that it had been brought to his attention that one of the coalition members “is associated with people and a group that was declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Qarni was referring to the Muslim Reform Movement, which has advocated for gender equality in mosques and against rules requiring Muslim women to cover their hair.

The group is not a hate group.

Qarni said that he refused to meet with the parent group.

Note: Asra Nomani, the parent falsely accused by the Virginia Secretary of Education, is Vice President of Strategy at Parents Defending Education


PTA clashes with education secretary on admissions changes AP News, Sept 10, 2021