This is an extended excerpt of an article we wrote on December 17, 2010. We would love to address that article: Ms. Khan the middle school teacher who is now suing the Berkeley School District 87 for what she and the DOJ allege that Khan’s 1st Amendment rights have been violated and as such she has been discriminated against. Shouldn’t there be some kind of preponderance of guilt?
As we think of the continued coverage we’ve dedicated ourselves too vis-a-vie Elaine and Jon Huguenin with the exact opposite that happened to them, imagine our outrage as we see this case develop. Can we say in all earnest that, the government’s prosecution of Berkeley School District for not allowing for reasonable accommodations for religious activities is appropriate, moreover correct?
We believe the answer is no. Furthermore, has Ms. Khan’s behavior, and demands she’s making show her abuse of the process. The Hajj she feels compelled to observe happens every year – has she ever demonstrated her efforts to attend? No again. Although the Teachers Union did not allow for reasonable accommodation has anyone ever considered what a “reasonable accommodation” is?
Is Berkeley School District telling Ms. Khan that she can’t attend the Hajj? No! We don’t believe that this school district would knowingly submit the idea, “it’s either your religion or your job.” The pilgrimage that Muslims observe or simply “The Hajj” is an elective religious event that lasts for three weeks to a month, with the majority of the celebration occurring during a five day period that normally is either in November or December.
Make no mistake about this issue folks: This issue is not about the abridgement of anyone’s 1st Amendment rights, nor is it remotely close to discrimination: this case is very much about “entitlements that are wanted” as well as DOJ’s relentless support of Muslims.
Well the verdict is back and it is with remorse that we try to explain it. However there exist some issues regarding Muslims and the willful effort that the Department of Justice and other advocacy groups are effectuating and we believe determining the outcomes of the process.
“The Justice Department is taking strong steps to protect the constitutional rights of Muslim Americans because they are being targeted for particular prejudice and abuse”, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of the Civil Rights Division said Tuesday.
In comparing the discrimination of Muslim Americans to past discrimination of Catholics, Jews and others, Perez, testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the Constitution, civil rights and human rights attempted to fend off Republican criticism of recent DOJ actions.
Perez touted a litany of cases in which the DOJ has sought to defend the rights of Muslims to practice their religion freely and not face discrimination. But a case involving a Muslim teacher who had to quit her job to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca took center stage, as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the panel’s top Republican, pushed Perez about the validity of the case.
Safoorah Khan had taught middle school math for only nine months in this tiny Chicago suburb when she made an unusual request. She wanted three weeks off for a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The school district, faced with losing its only math lab instructor during the critical end-of-semester marking period, said no. Khan, a Muslim, resigned and made the trip anyway. Make no mistake about it folks this was an elective decision made by Ms. Khan and as such should have happened to her what would happen to any other America who had the conjones to even ask.
The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the school district, alleging it infringed on her civil rights by compelling her to make a decision between her faith and job. Now this is where there is a complete breakdown of where the Justice department clearly over-stepped its purview. Up to this point in the offering literature not even Ms. Khan felt that it was a matter of faith versus job.
Sen. Graham said the DOJ’s decision to take up the case was “curious.” The Republican said Khan should have been able to find a way to accommodate the school district. He said he would not support a Christian making a request for time off in the school year to attend a three-week pilgrimage to Jerusalem. “The fact that you took this case up is going to do more damage than good,” Graham said.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the panel holding Tuesday’s hearing, told CNN that his hearing wasn’t a response to King’s hearing. Remarks and questions from Democratic senators on Tuesday focused on the protection of Muslim Americans.
“We must condemn anti-Muslim bigotry and make it clear that we won’t tolerate religious discrimination in our communities,” Durbin said at the hearing. “We can protect our nation and still protect the fundamental freedoms of our Bill of Rights.”
On Tuesday, Perez said the DOJ is working to ensure that the rights of Muslim Americans are protected. “We will continue to use every available tool in our law enforcement arsenal to transform this headwind of intolerance into a tailwind of inclusion and opportunity,” Perez said.
Berkeley School District will pay $75,000 to Ms. Khan for lost back pay, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees. Berkeley School District also is required to develop and distribute a religious accommodation policy consistent with Title VII’s requirement to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs, practices and/or observances of all employees and prospective employees.