Muslim Teacher Denied Time-off for the Hajj: News Roundup

The Hajj to Mecca, the fifth pillar of Islam, is something “every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in a lifetime if they are physically and financially able to” (Associated Press). 

Despite its importance to many Muslims around the world, making the Hajj wasn’t reason enough for an Illinois middle school to grant a Muslim employee three weeks of unpaid leave.
 
The Department of Justice is suing a suburban Chicago school district after it refused to give a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave when she wanted to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia during Ramadan (Proviso Herald).
 
 
After being denied, Safoorah wrote to the board, saying that "based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing Hajj” (International Business Times). She later resigned from her teaching position and filed a complaint with the EEOC.
 
 
 
 
In other education news, a Sikh elementary school student in Michigan is being investigated for bringing a kirpan, a ceremonial dagger that many Sikhs wear at all times as part of their faith, to school. His fellow fourth graders saw the kirpan while they were all wrestling during recess, and thinking it was a weapon, told their teacher and parents.
 
 
To finish up, here’s an encouraging story out of Denmark. To introduce students to different faiths and encourage respect for religious diversity, a Danish school created a “multifaith playground” where kids can play in a small mosque, church and Hindu temple (WorldDawn.com).
 
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Caity Goodman