Skip to comments.Rock Bridge accommodates Muslim students: "It sounds like we set up a mosque in our (public) school"
Posted on 10/25/2001 12:41:04 PM PDT by rface
According to the employee, who asked not to be named, inside the room there was also a sign asking visitors to "remove shoes when entering the mosque."
"The sign is not a good idea," Principal Bruce Brotzman said Tuesday. "It sounds like we set up a mosque in our school or" if it were "for Christians, a sanctuary. We are not going to do that. But to make space available to accommodate kids, that is something ... we want to do."
Practicing Muslims pray five times a day during specified windows of time. At least one of those times falls during the school day. Brotzman said that each year, students look for space for the daytime prayer. This year he offered them a small basement room after an elementary schools gifted-education program moved out. The room has no window and is not identified with a room number.
"The most important thing is to find a place that is clean and quiet," said senior Rehab El-Buri. Last year students used the Performing Arts Center but would periodically find it occupied by a class or locked. She estimated about 30 students use the room from time to time, though on days when they have cars they might drive to the mosque downtown instead.
Rehab said Muslim students werent upset to see the signs go down. They were posted by a student whose family immigrated here two months ago and who is suffering from culture shock, she said.
"I know they didnt open this room just for Muslim students. We may have the greatest need, but this is by no means a mosque," Rehab said. "I think the room should be open to Christians or Buddhists who want to pray."
Steve Benen, spokesman for the Washington-based group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the question of how far schools must go to accommodate daytime prayer by students has not been settled legally.
"The policy most schools take is one of accommodation, which seems to work for everyone involved," he said. "The caveat is that it must not be disruptive. Rooms being set aside for exclusively religious use, that would be legally problematic."
Earlier this year, Americans United wrote letters of opposition to a Kentucky high school that allowed an outside person to renovate a classroom into a chapel, complete with pews carved with crosses, a pulpit and a copy of the Lords Prayer posted. The school set up the room for students who wanted to come voluntarily.
After communication with Americans United, the Kentucky school converted its chapel into a different school use.
Brotzman said Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter has explained to Muslim students that the room is not exclusively "theirs."
Brotzman said Christian students havent asked to use a school room during the day, though requests to use space before and after school arent uncommon. A flier posted on school bulletin boards advertised a meeting yesterday of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the school commons. The meeting was to include songs and worship.
Rehab said her years at Rock Bridge have been the best of her life in terms of helping her feel comfortable expressing who she is. In middle school, she was "too much of a conformist" to break away to pray during the day. In junior high she gained confidence, but administrators didnt help students find a room to use.
"When new Muslim families come to Columbia, I always recommend their kids go to Rock Bridge because they have been so overwhelmingly cooperative with us and so understanding," she said.
Poor babies, they have culture shock so we need to adapt to THEIR culture.
Excuse me, but if there is not a special room for Christians to go pray then this room must be shut down.
Let them stand out front of the school at the flag pole like the Christians have to do.
How about a bus ride to an alternate (off-the-school-grounds) site? Parochial school kids are allowed to use buses for transportation between the public and parochial schools. That solution has been approved already.
......HAMBURG, Germany (AP) - Some 200 worshippers listened raptly as the imam at al-Quds mosque delivered a fiery 45-minute sermon on the sins of the infidels and the arrogance of the West. ``God, we implore You to destroy the United States of America,'' shouted the imam in a sermon Friday. Not a soul flinched. The congregation recited in unison, ``Amen.''
Columbia residents through last night had reported 112 robberies - 57 involving a firearm - this year. Thats far above last years total of 89 robberies. And the time of year that police refer to as the robbery season - from the onset of cold weather through the holidays - lies ahead.
All your mosques belong to us!
Someone set us up the mosque!
All your mosques belong to us!
All your mosques are belong to us.
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