NEW YORK – A New York City principal who came under fire for controversial comments about an "intifada" T-shirt that seemed to condone terrorism has resigned.
On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg accepted the resignation of Debbie Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, an English-Arabic school set to open next month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"I became convinced yesterday that this week's headlines were endangering the viability of Khalil Gibran International Academy, even though I apologized," Almontaser said in an e-mail to FOX News.
The principal had come under fire for comments she made to The New York Post about an "Intifada NYC" T-shirt that is sold by an activist group which shares an office with the Yemeni-American association that Almontaser represents.
The day before she condemned the T-shirt message's connection to Palestinian terrorism, Almontaser told the Post that "intifada" meant "shaking off" and the shirts represented women "shaking off" oppression.
The comments infuriated the city's United Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, who called the message "war-mongering."
“That’s something that ought to be denounced, not be explained away,” she told the paper.
Bloomberg made the announcement about the resignation during a local radio program Friday morning and the Department of Education issued a statement soon after.
"Debbie brought to the work of creating the school strong dedication and a commitment to the success of all of New York City's children," New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein said in a statement. "She reflected that commitment by stepping aside as the schools leader when controversy about her remarks threatened to destabilize the school."
The school, which is slated to open in September with a dual Arabic-English curriculum, has been called by some a madrassa — or Muslim religious school — masquerading as a public school.
"This school must not open," said Pam Hall, a spokeswoman for the Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition, a group opposed to the school.
Both Almontaser and Klein stressed the importance of making the dual Arabic-English school a success.
"I continue to believe that an Arabic dual language program, much like our other successful dual language programs, offers unique preparation for the global marketplace, and I remain committed to the success of Khalil Gibran International Academy," Klein's statement said.
Almontaser echoed the sentiment.
"I have spent the last two years of my nearly 15 years with the department working to create the unique educational opportunities that the school will offer," she wrote to FOX News. "I will not allow the recent outcry to undermine these possibilities for the children of our city."