Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Obama Admin. Sues for Muslim Pilgrimage Rights

The U.S. government is suing a suburban Chicago school district for refusing to grant a Muslim teacher unpaid leave to go on a Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

UPDATE 3/29/11: "The Justice Department is using its power and law to push frankly extreme cultural and other views that the ordinary American person does not agree with."

-- From "US Sues School for Denying Teacher Leave for Muslim Pilgrimage" by Lauren Frayer, Contributor, AOL News 12/14/10

Attending the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca once in a lifetime is one of the five central tenets of the Islamic faith. Safoorah Khan, a middle school teacher in the Berkeley school district, about 15 miles west of Chicago, applied for an unpaid leave of absence in 2008 to go on the Hajj, but her request was denied.

She ultimately quit her job to attend and later filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "US Sues School Over Denial Of Muslim Pilgrimage" by The Associated Press 12/13/10

In a civil rights case, the department said the school district in Berkeley, Ill., denied the request of Safoorah Khan on grounds that her requested leave was unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract between the school district and the teachers union. In doing so the school district violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices, the government said.

Khan started as a middle school teacher for Berkeley School District 87 — about 15 miles west of Chicago — in 2007. In 2008, she asked for almost three weeks of unpaid leave to perform the Hajj. After the district twice denied her request, Khan wrote the board that "based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing hajj," and resigned shortly thereafter, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.

The government asked the court to order the school district to adopt policies that reasonably accommodate its employees' religious practices and beliefs, and to reinstate Khan with back pay and also pay her compensatory damages.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.