03/31/11 Islam & the Law


Safoorah Khan had been a teacher less than a year when she requested three weeks of leave to attend the Hajj. 

The Hajj is the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Kahn was the math and test preparation teacher for MacArthur Middle School’s 500 students.  The leave dates were during a testing period.  The request was not work-related nor covered in her union contract.  Her request was denied. 

So she quit her job. Then traveled to Mecca.

Khan has a powerful friend.  The U.S. Justice Department has sued the Board of Education in Berkeley, Illinois, a mostly black and Hispanic village of 5000. DOJ claims religious discrimination and demands reinstatement, back pay and damages for Khan.

Federal law requires reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs.  Khan’s request was unreasonable.  The pilgrimage is required only once in a lifetime. Later this decade and for several years thereafter it coincides with summer vacation.

The DOJ’s lawsuit is wrong and a victory in a courtroom or by settlement would set an ugly precedent. 

What chance does this small town have against the federal government?

Another legal case involving Islam is raising eyebrows.  Judge Richard Nielsen [appointed by Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) in 2003] in Tampa, Florida has ordered a civil dispute between two parties to be resolved using Sharia law.

An appeal of his order has been filed.