US Justice Dept. Sues School for not Giving Muslim Teacher 3 Weeks Leave for Mecca Pilgrimage

By Tim Hallman

The U.S. Department of Justice, under direction from current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has initiated a lawsuit against a suburban Chicago school district for denying a Muslim middle school teacher 3 weeks of unpaid leave to make a religious pilgrimage to Mecca.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Safoorah Khan, a teacher who joined the Berkeley, IL., school district in 2007.

The lawsuit alleges that the school district violated Khan’s Civil Rights by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices.

Khan wanted to perform what is called the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which by Muslim standards is required once in a person’s lifetime if they are physically and financially able to do so.

Khan joined the school district in 2007 and then requested the 3 weeks of leave in 2008. The school district denied her request, twice, at which point Khan wrote that, “based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing hajj.” She then resigned her position.

The lawsuit alleges that the school district unjustly compelled Khan to choose between her religion and job.

The U.S. government has requested that the school district adopt policies that “reasonably accommodate its employees’ religious practices and beliefs, and to reinstate Khan with back pay and also pay her compensatory damages.”

This latest move on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department by Eric Holder has critics outraged. Holder has been criticized since he took office for exploiting the Justice Department to further his pro-black/anti-white agenda. Most notably was the case where the Attorney General, under direction from the Obama Administration, refused to prosecute a case originally initiated by the Bush Administration, in which two active Black Panther Party members were caught on videotape outside a polling establish intimidating white voters. Although much of the incident was caught on film, Holder dismissed the case under the premise that there was a lack of evidence.

If Khan and the U.S. Justice Department are successful in suit, it would set a precedent requiring every school district and business across America to allow such accommodations. Accommodations that would require employers to allow employees nearly a month of absenteeism in any given year.

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