Thursday, July 25, 2024

More Schools Observing Muslim Holidays

'When the Muslim prays, he or she is fully engaged...'

(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) More American schools are altering their culture, school buildings and student expectations to meet the demands of the growing numbers of Muslim students in American schools.

Muslims are on track to become the second-largest religion in America, according to a 2018 study by Pew Research Center.

“By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians,” the study said. “By 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the nation’s total population—nearly twice the share of today.”

According to a pamphlet published by the leftist Center for American Islamic Relations, titled “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” this explosion of growth most impacts the American public-education system.

This presence is perhaps most evident in the public school system, where Muslim students … make up an increasing percentage of the school population,” it said. “Recent studies show that most Muslim children are enrolled in public schools.”

This cultural collision is most evident around the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, where religious practices might conflict with the typical learning schedule and with students’ ability to maintain focus on instruction.

Ramadan includes a month long dedication to fasting during the hours of the day and specific prayer times throughout the day.

According to Axios, Muslim demands for Ramadan usually include a full day off from school—which cannot be scheduled in advance on the school’s pre-approved calendar, as CAIR explained in its pamphlet.

Because the occurrence of Eid depends on the sighting of the new moon, the exact date can only be determined with certainty the night before,” it said.

More than requesting an unpredictable day off, Muslim students also require all tests to be administered earlier in the day, excusing students from afternoon work and excusing them from physical education during the month.

Axios noted that the Muslim demands regarding Ramadan can extend as far as having a designated room for Muslim students to pray in.

Though “Worship may be performed in any quiet, clean room …  others should not walk in front of or interrupt the worshipper during the prayer,” said CAIR. “When the Muslim prays, he or she is fully engaged,” and will not respond to others speaking to them.

Muslims will also refuse to perform the Pledge of Allegiance, according to CAIR.

Disruptive and taxing though these demands may be, more and more American public schools are now fully capitulating to them:

  • In January, the Watchung Borough School District in New Jersey chose to close schools on the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
  • The Fairfield Board of Education in Connecticut also caved on the day off.
  • The Miami-Dade County School Board in Florida made the day a teacher planning day.
  • The Palm Beach County School Board granted the days off in 2024 and 2025.

Currently, a total of 15 school districts have acquiesced to the Muslim demands, according to Religion News Service.

The schools are following the Department of Education. In 2020 it issued guidance on religious freedom, which specifically instructed schools on how to deal with students during Ramadan.

“It would be lawful for schools to excuse Muslim students from class to enable them to fulfill their religious obligations to pray during Ramadan,” said the DOE.

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