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Parents push public schools to be more Muslim-friendly(allowed prayer)
AP ^ | 09/03/05 | WAYNE PARRY

Posted on 09/03/2005 8:06:40 AM PDT by Pikamax

Parents push public schools to be more Muslim-friendly 9/3/2005, 8:31 a.m. ET By WAYNE PARRY The Associated Press

CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. (AP) — Yasmeen Elsamra had a simple request: While her classmates were eating lunch, she wanted to go off by herself for a few moments and pray.

The 14-year-old was told she couldn't, and went home distraught that afternoon in October 2003. Praying five times a day is a cornerstone of her Muslim faith.

"If I wasn't allowed to pray my second prayer at school, I couldn't do it at home," she said. "When school finishes, the third prayer begins."

Her family contacted a Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asked the school district to reconsider. Eventually, the district acknowledged it had no policy preventing a student from praying on his or her own during free time, and allowed Yasmine to use an empty classroom to unfurl her prayer rug, face Mecca and touch her head to the floor in a few moments of worship.

Her case was part of a nationwide grassroots effort by Muslim parents to make public schools more friendly and accommodating to Muslim students. The movement gained strength following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"The reality for many Muslim students in public schools is very difficult," said Ingrid Mattson, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America. "It's highly stressful."

She said her children were sometimes taunted in their Connecticut school district.

"The kids will say, `Hey Osama, do you have a bomb? Are you going to blow us up?' " she said. "My daughter has had people try to pull her head scarf off, or say, `What are you doing with that rag on your head?' But they have also had friends who defended them."

Noor Ennab, a fifth grader who attends the private Muslim Al-Noor School in Brooklyn, N.Y., said she was driven out of her public school by post-Sept. 11 harassment.

"Before that (the 2001 terror attacks) happened, we were treated so kind," she said. "Now it's like, '`You're a terrorist; get out of this country.' "

Older students also have had problems. Debra Mason of Jersey City dropped out of Fairleigh Dickinson University's nursing program after she said she was told to remove her head covering during patient rounds. The New Jersey civil rights division recently found probable cause to proceed with an investigation into whether the school violated her rights. The school declined comment on the case.

Mason said she can't imagine how anyone could feel uncomfortable seeing a nurse with a head scarf, particularly in northern New Jersey.

"It's not like no one's ever seen a Muslim," she said. "There are Muslim doctors everywhere, Muslim nurses, and Muslim patients."

Some school districts are starting to take notice. A zero-tolerance policy on harassment of Muslim students was adopted by the Broward County school board in Florida in March 2003, just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began.

In February, Muslim community leaders led the Pledge of Allegiance at a San Antonio high school as part of a daylong conference on Islam.

Paterson, N.J., home to the state's largest Arab-American community, lets some students out of class early on Friday to attend prayers with their parents' permission, and is one of a handful of New Jersey districts that closes schools for Eid-al-Fitr, a Muslim religious holiday.

"You're seeing a lot of schools becoming more sensitive this way," said Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association. "A lot of these decisions are based on demographics. For generations, the major school holidays were Christian and Jewish ones. But New Jersey has become so diverse that you're seeing more districts seeing to the needs of their students and staff."

Bassima Mustafa, a civics teacher in Paterson, said it is crucial that students feel comfortable and welcome in the classroom.

"A majority of our students are immigrants or the children of immigrants," she said. "It's going to spread as the population increases."

But despite a large Muslim student population, efforts to add Eid to the school holiday calendar fizzled earlier this year in Baltimore, where the school board voted 10-0 against the proposal. That disappointed Samira Hussein, a parent of four and an educator who helped nudge the Montgomery County school district in Maryland toward a more inclusive curriculum.

She and others got the district to send teachers and administrators to a special Ramadan celebration each fall at local mosques marking the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. The teachers ate lunch there and spoke to parents and students about Islam and how it intersects with the school day, particularly what it feels like to fast during the day while other children eat.

Now, her kids and other Muslim students sit at a cafeteria table doing homework, playing games or just talking during lunch.

That's the kind of simple accommodation that Aliya Rohani wishes every Muslim student could have.

"I don't want to be hated by other people," said Rohani, who attends the Al-Noor School in Brooklyn and said she was harassed by non-Muslims after 9/11. "I didn't do anything wrong. I would go home to my mom and cry. I started saying, `No, I'm not Arabic.' But I don't want to deny who I am."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: cair; muslimamericans; muslimstudents; publicschools; religionofpeace; religiousexpression
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1 posted on 09/03/2005 8:06:42 AM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

"Praying five times a day is a cornerstone of her Muslim faith."

So is prayer for Christians. Oh, wait, the overwhelmingly majority of Xians in the US are white. Never mind.


2 posted on 09/03/2005 8:12:50 AM PDT by DTwistedSisterS
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To: Pikamax

THERE IS NO DAMN WAY IN HELL WE ARE GOING TO BE FORCED TO ACCOMODATE MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS GET SHOVED INTO THE GUTTER .. NO WAY IN HELL!!!

My granddaughters are Christians and are not allowed to even take their Bibles to school .. but we have to allow another religion to pray .. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Suddenly .. the muslim supporters don't have any problem with NOT SUPPORTING THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.


3 posted on 09/03/2005 8:13:35 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: Pikamax

I detest the hyper-secularism that stamps out school prayer. But even given that ridiculous rule, reasonable acommodations should be made for students to observe their faiths, and I think they usually are.


4 posted on 09/03/2005 8:14:18 AM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: Pikamax

American Christians are harrassed by the public school administrators and the ACLU but Muslims get special treatment. Hmmmmm


5 posted on 09/03/2005 8:15:25 AM PDT by aworldtrader
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To: Pikamax

If they want to pray to Mecca then they ought to go to Pakistan. Funny we can't even discuss Christian religion in the school but you are a Muslim you can.


6 posted on 09/03/2005 8:15:47 AM PDT by JayAr36
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To: CyberAnt

BTTT


7 posted on 09/03/2005 8:16:43 AM PDT by aworldtrader
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To: CyberAnt

BTTT


8 posted on 09/03/2005 8:17:10 AM PDT by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: Pikamax

"Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Christians are to pray continually, yet our worship is counted as nothing.

I have no problem with this little girl praying - we are founded on freedom of religion after all. However, Christians and Jews should also be allowed to pray, including "giving thanks".

If one of the pillars of Islam is praying 5 times a day, the major emphasis of Christianity is the personal relationship between Jesus and the individual.

This policy is discriminatory.


9 posted on 09/03/2005 8:18:24 AM PDT by I still care (America is not the problem - it is the solution..)
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To: JayAr36
Why isn't the ACLU suing the school system? Because they don't really want to stamp out religion - just Christianity.
10 posted on 09/03/2005 8:18:31 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: Pikamax
"Before that (the 2001 terror attacks) happened, we were treated so kind," she said. "Now it's like, '`You're a terrorist; get out of this country.' "

Why are you still here?

11 posted on 09/03/2005 8:19:10 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Pikamax

Let's do a mirror image. If she were a Christian in Saudi Arabia would she be allowed to practice her religion?


12 posted on 09/03/2005 8:19:51 AM PDT by billnaz (What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?)
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To: Pikamax

Where's the ACLU on this?


13 posted on 09/03/2005 8:19:55 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: CyberAnt
Shame Shame Cyber Ant

You act as if Islam was a religion.

We all know it's a terrorist cult of hate.
14 posted on 09/03/2005 8:22:32 AM PDT by PeteB570
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To: Pikamax
The 14-year-old was told she couldn't, and went home distraught that afternoon in October 2003. Praying five times a day is a cornerstone of her Muslim faith.

"If I wasn't allowed to pray my second prayer at school, I couldn't do it at home," she said. "When school finishes, the third prayer begins."

STFU and GTFO! They will bend over backwards to accommodate the Moon Worshippers but you can't have a generic prayer before a football game! Ugh! Anytime I see some hijab-wearing Mohammedan I get a bad reaction......

15 posted on 09/03/2005 8:23:22 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Pikamax

If you want a school that caters to your faith, go to one that is run by your denomination - it's really quite simple. And that goes for any faith.


16 posted on 09/03/2005 8:24:21 AM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: Pikamax

"Her case was part of a nationwide grassroots effort by Muslim parents to make public schools more friendly and accommodating to Muslim students"

No, they should move back to the middle east. All American public schools refuse any form of religious acknowledgments...period. If there can't be any christian worshipping in public schools then there should be no muslim worshipping allowed in public schools. No acceptions for anyone.


17 posted on 09/03/2005 8:24:30 AM PDT by SunnySide (Ephes2:8 ByGraceYou'veBeenSavedThruFaithAGiftOfGodSoNoOneCanBoast)
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To: DTwistedSisterS

"The reality for many Muslim students in public schools is very difficult,"

Yeah, life is tough all around. Perhaps her family should relocate to one of those idyllic countries with Islamic religious law based governments.


18 posted on 09/03/2005 8:32:10 AM PDT by hauerf
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To: Pikamax
ParentsSleeper Cell Enablers push public schools to be more Muslim Terrorist Training-friendly


Title should read this way!


Kill A Commie For Mommie
Seven Dead Monkeys Page O Tunes

19 posted on 09/03/2005 8:32:35 AM PDT by rawcatslyentist ("If it's brown, drink it down. If it's black send it back." Homer's guide to drinking in Springfield)
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To: CyberAnt

Yep. Well after 09/11, the schools even held exercises to teach the Moslem faith to students. They read and memorized texts from the Koran. It even went so far as to have the children think about Jihads and outline one of their own. I'm not infering violence, but still the concept seemed very strange to me. Public schools? The same ones that forbid any Christian prayers, texts or talk of Jesus.

If this didn't reveal the true agenda of the ACLU and the public education system, I don't know what would.


20 posted on 09/03/2005 8:32:41 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (US socialist liberalism would be dead without the help of politicians who claim to be conservative.)
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To: DTwistedSisterS
She and others got the district to send teachers and administrators to a special Ramadan celebration each fall at local mosques marking the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. The teachers ate lunch there and spoke to parents and students about Islam and how it intersects with the school day, particularly what it feels like to fast during the day while other children eat.

Perhaps one of the topics could be the boy who was flogged to death last year in Iran for breaking his fast.

21 posted on 09/03/2005 8:32:59 AM PDT by BigBobber
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To: CyberAnt

Why haven't you contacted one of the Christian aid groups to get help in convencing your granddaughters school what they are doing is wrong?


22 posted on 09/03/2005 8:33:23 AM PDT by SolarisRocks
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To: Pikamax

People of all religions should be permitted a quiet time and place to pray during their school or working day, without interruption or harassment. This is a reasonable accommodation. During lunch or break at work, on the person's personal time.


23 posted on 09/03/2005 8:35:01 AM PDT by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: rawcatslyentist
DING-DING-DING!

We have a winner!

24 posted on 09/03/2005 8:35:15 AM PDT by MarineDad (Whenever mosques and JDAM's meet, civilization benefits.)
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To: Pikamax
"The teachers ate lunch and spoke to parents and students about Islam and how it intersects with the school day, particularly what it feels like to fast during the day while other children eat."

Aaaarrrrrr! I should have read the whole article before I made my first comment. Now I realize that this post needs a BARF ALERT.

25 posted on 09/03/2005 8:39:42 AM PDT by hauerf
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To: Pikamax
Looks like real freedom of religion in action. So why can't Christians in that school have the same option? I wonder what would happend if some Christian students began requesting the same privelege.

Prayer back in school but only for Muslims?
26 posted on 09/03/2005 8:40:19 AM PDT by PajamaHadin (Freedom of Religion - but not for everyone)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: CyberAnt
Don't forget that the Muslim faith has a longterm plan for global dominance. This is just the beginning of the end for their agenda.
28 posted on 09/03/2005 8:46:17 AM PDT by ThomasNast
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To: Pikamax
"Before that (the 2001 terror attacks) happened, we were treated so kind," she said. "Now it's like, '`You're a terrorist; get out of this country.' "

Great care should be exercised when selecting a horse to pull your wagon.

29 posted on 09/03/2005 8:47:47 AM PDT by Hat-Trick (Do you trust a government that cannot trust you with guns?)
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To: Pikamax
Sickening. Why do these "people" insist on forcing their perverted agenda upon the American people? Revealing is the statement that their movement gained strength after Sept. 11. That was a great moral victory for these peaceful, loving and good Muslims.

Where are you undermining the American state today?
30 posted on 09/03/2005 8:47:49 AM PDT by DoraC (Islam is no peaceful religion.)
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To: Pikamax

I guess we'll see now if the Left is really anti-religious or just anti-Christian.


31 posted on 09/03/2005 8:49:12 AM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: hauerf
"The teachers ate lunch and spoke to parents and students about Islam and how it intersects with the school day, particularly what it feels like to fast during the day while other children eat."

Ten years from now they'll be demanding that the other students not eat in the cafeteria in front of the Muslim kids.

32 posted on 09/03/2005 8:49:20 AM PDT by thathamiltonwoman
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To: Ciexyz
People of all religions should be permitted a quiet time and place to pray during their school or working day, without interruption or harassment. This is a reasonable accommodation. During lunch or break at work, on the person's personal time.

What are their "prayers"? Praying for the death of the west and the destruction of its civilization? Why should we be forced to accomodate people who are intent on destroying us?
33 posted on 09/03/2005 8:49:42 AM PDT by DoraC (Islam is no peaceful religion.)
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To: Pikamax
Imagine how being Jewish when I was going to school and had to endure Christian holiday themes ... believe me, it's going to happen that Muslims will get their way in our schools ... the ACLU will see to it that it happens ....
34 posted on 09/03/2005 8:50:13 AM PDT by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: JayAr36
You are right. It's time to deport them to the nearest Muslim country.
35 posted on 09/03/2005 8:54:25 AM PDT by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: ThomasNast

I know what the Muslim agenda is - and I believe Christian parents are going to rise up and DEMAND THEIR CHILDREN BE ALLOWED TO PRAY AND BRING THEIR BIBLES TO SCHOOL - I'll bet you - if the parents make the demands loud enough - it will put a stop to the muslim folly.


36 posted on 09/03/2005 8:56:30 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: SkyDancer
And it's time to deport or fill Gitmo with the ACLU.
37 posted on 09/03/2005 8:56:55 AM PDT by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: SolarisRocks

Because my granddaughters don't go to school there anymore. They have moved to another city. At this time, I don't know much about the current schools .. but you can believe I will find out.


38 posted on 09/03/2005 8:58:51 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: Pikamax

If they can pray, then so can the Christians.

ACLU come forth!


39 posted on 09/03/2005 9:00:05 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: DoughtyOne

You are correct - but in liberal areas - parents don't see anything wrong with it. When the muslims take over their communities - maybe they will wake up.


40 posted on 09/03/2005 9:00:23 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: PeteB570

But .. they disguise their "cult of hate" as a religion - so we need to respond as if it were. They think we're too stupid to figure it out - and they don't seem to realize that we have ALREADY FIGURED IT OUT.


41 posted on 09/03/2005 9:03:58 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: CyberAnt

Oh they'll glory in the diversity not realizing there will be none of that sentiment headed back in their direction, and that they are contributing to the extinction of the values system that gave them their standard of living.


42 posted on 09/03/2005 9:06:27 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (US socialist liberalism would be dead without the help of politicians who claim to be conservative.)
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To: Pikamax
In Saudi Arabia it is a crime to possess a Bible. It is a crime to conduct non-Islamic religious ervices, no matter how private. It is a captal crime to proselytize. Yet, here in my town, one of the local Catholic churches allows a Muslim group to use the basement area for Friday prayer services. Doesn't anyone get it? Islam and the Moon God cannot abide competition. Indeed, competition will kill it. A religion which is supported by secular law forbidding other religions is not a strong religion. This is a sign of fundamental weakness.

And we should not be doing anything to accommodate Islam that we do not do for other religions, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or Hinduism! They can stay home during Rama-lama-ding dong, as Jewish kids in my high school did during Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur.

43 posted on 09/03/2005 9:07:38 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Pikamax
Muslims have the same freedom to practice their religion in shcool as anyone else, no more, no less. (As long as it's not disruptive, which this young lady's practice does not seem to have been. Unfortunately the schools don't seem to have read the first amendment, especially when it comes to those of the majority faith.
44 posted on 09/03/2005 9:11:20 AM PDT by El Gato
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To: Pikamax

You tend to have problems like this when a school-system is run entirely by liberal Democrats, which is the norm here in New Jersey


unfortuneately.


45 posted on 09/03/2005 9:12:10 AM PDT by BombHollywood
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To: Ukiapah Heep
Absolutely - where's the website to send donations to????
46 posted on 09/03/2005 9:13:24 AM PDT by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: DTwistedSisterS

I think I'll throw up.


47 posted on 09/03/2005 9:16:55 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Pikamax
It's amazing how the religion of Satan is now infiltrating our schools! We're doomed to hell, just look at New Orleans!
48 posted on 09/03/2005 9:17:16 AM PDT by Lucky2 (Lucky2 loves the NY Yankees.)
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To: DoughtyOne

You are so correct in your assessment: "... none of that sentiment headed back in their direction, and ... they (the liberals) are contributing to the extinction of the values system that gave them their standard of living."

But the saddest part is - the extinction will take place before they realize it and then it might be too late to fix it.


49 posted on 09/03/2005 9:20:21 AM PDT by CyberAnt (America has the greatest military on the face of the earth.)
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To: NutCrackerBoy

If people are wild and evil, the USA let them have their way. This will lead to the fall of a nation. The USA has been giving into terrorists all over the world.

I would not be willing to fight for any nation with an Islamic constitution, for it is just replacing one evil with another one.


50 posted on 09/03/2005 9:20:25 AM PDT by tessalu
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