Skip to comments.Finding a place to pray (Parent wants a private space for her 10-year-old son for Muslim prayer)
Posted on 02/19/2009 6:58:12 PM PST by Coleus
WAYNE Rola Awwad wants a private space for her 10-year-old son at Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School to exercise his right to Muslim prayer.
The school district had offered to let him pray at recess either outside or in a classroom while classmates are there. And that, says Awwad, is "unacceptable." mAll students are constitutionally guaranteed the right to pray during the school day as long as it doesn't interfere with learning. But Wayne is struggling with what accommodations to make if a Muslim student requests privacy for prayer. The answer in other North Jersey districts ranges from providing access to the principal's office, to providing a spare room. But school administrators in suburban Wayne have been weighing the question since fall, when Awwad asked the principal to allow her son, Adam, a few minutes of privacy each afternoon to pray. The district says it's concerned about allowing a young pupil to be unsupervised, even for a short time, and Awwad said her request was met with resistance.
"Why can't he be on his own for five minutes praying?" said Awwad, a Palestinian who moved to the United States from Jordan 11 years ago. She said it's important to her that her children go to public school and make diverse friends. But she also wants them to be able to practice their religion. "All I want from the school is to let my son pray in a private place in a small room, say his prayer and go back to class," she said.
Muslims pray five times a day to reaffirm their faith and submit to follow divine commandments. The prayer is said during prescribed times; in the fall, when the clocks roll back at the end of daylight savings time, the afternoon prayer must be said during the school day, Awwad explained. Federal guidelines say schools can't prevent students from praying during school hours, but schools can't sponsor religious activities or lead students in prayer. But the guidelines don't provide specifics on how schools should handle requests like Awwad's. And because that's left to the discretion of school administrators, North Jersey districts have responded with a hodgepodge of approaches.
In Passaic, an elementary school student is allowed to pray privately in a classroom storage closet, Superintendent Robert Holster said. A middle school principal in Cliffside Park allows a student to pray in her office, Superintendent Michael Romagnino said. If an elementary school child wanted a private place to pray, the superintendent said he would ask the principal to make an accommodation in an available office. And Teaneck High School sets aside a room where Muslim students are allowed to go and say their prayers, said district spokesman Dave Bicofsky. Wayne's district does not even have a consistent approach among its schools, The Record found in interviews with parents and the administration.
Awwad said when she first made her request, she was advised to pick up Adam at lunch and take him out of school to say prayers, which she has done for the last several months. When she pressed to have him allowed to pray in the building, the district offered to let Adam pray outside during lunch, or in the classroom during recess when the weather was bad. But another elementary school principal in the district had offered to let a student pray in an office. School board Attorney John Croot said the district thought it had made an "acceptable accommodation" when it offered to let Muslim students pray outside during lunch, or inside in a classroom in days of bad weather. He said the district is trying to strike a balance between constitutional principles.
For school officials, the issue is complicated by the degree of religious practice: For instance, federal guidelines specifically mention a student's right to quietly read the Bible during lunch. But the guidelines are not clear on what a district should do when the expression of religion is more demonstrative, as it is in Adam's case. "Then you are talking about a public school district,'' Croot said. "You have to carefully weigh the constitutional issues. It's a balance between the free exercise of religion and the concept of the separation of church and state. It's a public school district and you have to consider those constitutional issues.'' Croot said he sought guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and was advised the district should have a consistent approach.
Awwad told the district in a letter that its latest accommodation "is unacceptable." Her son would have to put his prayer mat and touch his forehead on the damp ground if he prayed outside. And she said Adam was worried that other students would ridicule him if he prayed in the classroom. Croot said "nothing has been foreclosed yet. We are still in discussions. We have indicated one possible accommodation that would have been acceptable, but there may be other accommodations that we could reach."
Yeah, I’m an infidel to a lot of people. It is frustrating, though, that Muslims come here and demand accommodation in everything while their own cultures do absolutely nothing to accommodate the faiths of others. It seems the height of hypocrisy to demand more than they are willing to grant others. (Of course, as an infidel I realize the reason is because they are The True Faith and I am doomed to go to Hell.)
It appears they would let this child pray in the same place Christian children pray in Mecca. This is the start and with these people there is no end. Next: Foot baths and prayer rooms.
Home school the little bugger. If you can’t make allowances for other religions then there shall be no allowances for Islam either.
This, too, is jihad.
This demand from boy's family needs to be stopped now. They should first go and ask the country they came from this benefit before coming here and demanding and trying to destroy this country bit by bit.
This just breaks my heart.
Next thing you know, he’ll be told he can’t kill infidels.
Somethings wrong with this world......
This has NOTHING to do with providing a place for this kid to pray and has EVERYTHING to do with training the West to bow down and submit to Muslim demands.
Here’s a place for you to go...Mecca, you little Moslem terrorist-to-be.
It amounts to a rote, ritual chanting of a set script. It is more like performing mantras than praying.
You know, that whole Matt 6:7,
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. KJV,”
thing that the Bible warned us against?
So do Catholics also get a private space?
What’s good for one is good for all.
Hey, I thought there wasn’t any praying in schools..........what goes? Oh, yeah, Muslim.
Bump that truth!
We need prayer rooms. For example, If a Nazi wants to pray to Hitler, he needs a private place for that. This is what school is all about.
Give her a room right beside the private room for Christian prayer.
Im fortunate (and thankful) in that the GOD I serve doesnt require me to pray at a certain time of day. H doesnt even require me to pray in privacy, or in the open.
He doesnt require me to pray facing in any particular direction. He doesnt require me to have a special place from which to pray.
I can pray standing, sitting, riding in a car, sitting on a bus or while at my computer. I thank him constantly that He has no strings attached to prayer other than HIS wish that I do pray.
God point. Im Catholic, and I pray at least 10 times a day.
In my head.
I dont need a prayer rug. I just think it.
I never think of cutting heads off when I pray. Maybe something wrong with me?
Just move up to Canada!
We’re so stupid (some of us) that we set aside a room in every public school for prayer (it has to face east). We also rearrange the seating - a muslim girl cannot have a male student seated in front of, behind, or on either side of her.
We Christians just flee the public school system....while our tax dollars keep paying for this insanity.
Whats good for one is good for all.
Of course not. Catholics, Lutherans, and Baptists don't saw people's heads off when they don't get their way. Don't you understand logic?
Sure it is..... for now.....
And then when the school capitulates to THAT demand, there'll be another, and another, and another.....
And before you know it, it'll be sharia law and headscarves for everyone.
She can homeschool if the school doesn't meet her needs.