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Vacation's All She Ever Wanted

In the Chicago suburb of Berkeley (must be something about the name), a teacher wants some time off. Safoorah Khan teaches middle school, and she is a Muslim. She wants to take three weeks of unpaid leave in the middle of the school year to fulfill her religious duty to make the Hajj. The school district said no, it would be too inconveniencing. So she's suing.

The Hajj is one of the obligations put upon every Muslim. It is one of the biggies. According to Wikipedia, "The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so."

Yes, it's one of the five big things in Islam -- one of the "Five Pillars." But look at the weasel words in it -- "at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so." Don't feel up to it this year? Can't afford it? Fine, maybe next year. No biggie.

Well, apparently it's critical that Ms. Khan get her tuchis over to Saudia Arabia ASAP, so she's suing the school district to grant her three weeks off -- right between the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's vacation periods. As in, right during the end of the first half of the school year.

Fortunately, she's not alone. She's got some hefty legal firepower behind her to get her way. Namely, the United States Department of Justice. Apparently, when you're not enforcing voter intimidation laws against Black Panthers, immigration laws against illegal aliens, and tax laws against cheaters who get nominations to high office by President Obama, you have plenty of time and resources to make sure this woman gets her time off.

Regardless of the inconvenience to the school district. And regardless of how the "religious obligation" is nowhere near as urgent or demanding as she makes it out to be.

Note, also, that Ms. Khan first started working for the school district in 2007, and put in for three weeks off in the fall of 2008.

Think about that. She was hired as a teacher in the summer (most likely) of 2007. In her second year of teaching, she wants to take off for pretty much the entire end of the first half of the school year. And her reason for doing so is to fulfill a religious obligation that she can do at any point in her life, as long as it's not too inconvenient for her to do so. It's simply no big deal that she do it that year, or any year. But she's suing to get her way.

And the United States Department of Justice is taking her side.

This reminds me of another story, this one from Canada. A Muslim woman is suing for the right to perform her job while observing the strict Islamic restrictions placed upon her -- that she wear the full hijab covering and avoid any and all physical contact with men.

She wants to be a guard in a men's prison.

Essentially, she wants to be able to walk into and out of a men's prison while wearing a full bulky that obscures everything about her but her eyes and not be touched and searched by men, go around the prison while wearing said sack, and have no one even check if she's smuggling in or out anything. Or if she's even herself, or if she loaned her sack and ID to someone else?

It's cases like this that makes it more understandable why some states are passing laws specifically declaring that Shariah law has no standing in the United States.

And which makes me wonder just what the hell why the Obama administration (through Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department) is trying to make this school board comply with this one woman's interpretation of Islamic law.


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Comments (64)

The president is muslim. Yo... (Below threshold)
John S:

The president is muslim. You do the math.

Saw this on NBC (I think? t... (Below threshold)
Wordygirl:

Saw this on NBC (I think? they're all the same) and they very conveniently didn't mention anything about her wanting 3 weeks for a 5 day pilgrimage, or the fact that this can be done anytime in a Muslim's lifetime. No, this is the DOJ, the big hero for coming to the rescue of someone who is being religiously persecuted. But, it's Islam of course.

The only conclusion I can c... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The only conclusion I can come to his Obama's continuing seeking out, reaching out and proving to Muslims throughout the world that he is one of them. Maybe not in name, but in spirit. This guy just keeps shooting himself in the foot and I love it. ww

Crudely put: F her, F the D... (Below threshold)
mag:

Crudely put: F her, F the DOJ, F people who thinks she is right and F the MUSLIMS.

Holder and ol' jug ears are... (Below threshold)
914:

Holder and ol' jug ears are submissive to Islam. I think this answers once and for all where Barrys loyalty lies..

Waiting for Lutherans to ch... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

Waiting for Lutherans to charge her with blasphemy

Why doesn't this dumbass ma... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Why doesn't this dumbass make her Hajj during summer break?

Hey, I need a month off for "Festivus" because my feat of strength is climbing Mt. Olympus to air my grievences.

Barry's no muslim. That wo... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Barry's no muslim. That would entail recognizing something greater and more important than himself.

He and his Regime of far-left hacks do, however, hate America and everything it stands for, so anything they can do to undermine our system and appease our other enemies is a priority.

Where are Obama's little toadies today? Don't they usually come around to slavishly defend the buffoon about this time?

Make Michelle wear a hijab ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Make Michelle wear a hijab and you've got something.

Better make that two hijabs, just in case.

They're probing our defense... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

They're probing our defenses. See how far they can push and where they can push.

Drip, drip, drip.

M-m-m-my Sharia.

Why don't they just give he... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Why don't they just give her all the unpaid time off she needs? Like indefinitely.

There are certain questions... (Below threshold)

There are certain questions that arise.

1. The particular time off seems to have been chosen to stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas that year to maximize the number of school days missed.

2. The Hajj tours are very restrictive and may require the days requested as she could not just go on any part of the Hajj that she wants. The days involved may be a requirement of the Hajj tour that she would be able to get into and set up by Saudi Arabia.

3. The lunar calendar subtracts ten days a year so the Hajj would not be during summer vacation for a number of years.

4. Did she already arrange for the trip and the visas or was the request of the school district before she made any arrangements?

5. Even if they gave her permission, how long would it take to make the necessary arrangements? Shouldn't she have asked well before the trip?

6. The Saudis limit the number of people allowed to come very strictly. If she got permission to go from them and the school district said no, would she be turned down for future trips?

It appears that there are questions on all sides about this.

Sabba comes to the rescue a... (Below threshold)
epador:

Sabba comes to the rescue again.
Very important questions.

So Holder's DOJ is all righ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

So Holder's DOJ is all right with pushing one particular religion?

Are we, as the right-wing o... (Below threshold)
Howie:

Are we, as the right-wing of America, anti-muslim? Sure sounds like if from the comments. Only post 12 took a logical thought through this.

Are there summer hajj tours... (Below threshold)
hvywgt:

Are there summer hajj tours?

Her info shows for 2008 only.
The link is Ill'nois only

http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

2008 Teacher Details
Name: Khan, Safoorah M
Salary: $32,546
Position: Junior High/Middle School Classroom Teacher
Full/Part Time: Part Time
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Computer Literacy/Technology
Years Teaching: 1.0
Degree: Baccalaureate
School Name: Whittier Elementary School
District Name: Berkeley SD 87

It' simple, so simple even ... (Below threshold)
Woop dere It Is...:

It' simple, so simple even a republican should be able to figure it out. But no...

"It's cases like this that makes it more understandable why some states are passing laws specifically declaring that Shariah law has no standing in the United States.

Well, you'd be wrong as usual. This as nothing to do with Sharia law. Nice beclowning.

"And which makes me wonder just what the hell why the Obama administration (through Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department) is trying to make this school board comply with this one woman's interpretation of Islamic law."

It's called "enforcing the law".

After the district denied her request, Khan wrote to the board, saying that "based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing Hajj," and she resigned shortly thereafter.

Khan then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The commission found reasonable causes of discrimination by the school district against her and, after failing in its attempt to conciliate the matter, it forwarded the case to the DOJ.

In the lawsuit, the DOJ has alleged that the school district has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of the teacher.

The DOJ is seeking an order requiring Berkeley School District to adopt a policy designed to reasonably accommodate the religious observances, practices and beliefs of employees and prospective employees.

In addition, the federal government is seeking back pay, compensatory damages and reinstatement for the teacher.

"Employees should not have to choose between their religious practice and their livelihood," said Assistant Attorney General (Civil Rights Division) Thomas Perez. "Federal law prohibits employers from treating employees and applicants less favorably because of their religion, and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the religious beliefs and practices of their employees."

This is the first lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice as a result of a pilot project designed to ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers by enhancing cooperation between the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division.

I agree - the Bush administration would have sat on their ass and done nothing to help this woman assert her rights. Their inaction would have bene cheered by the racist bigots who lines the streets of RepublicanVille, USA.

But the law of the land is the law of the land, and despite efforts by conservatives to discriminate against some Americans strictly on the basis of the name or religion, truth and justice is prevailing.

That really pisses you clowns off, doesn't it?

<a href="http://bit.ly/fWfl... (Below threshold)
thefixer:

http://bit.ly/fWflwG

The ODS is strong in you, Jay Tea.

I'll take up your challenge... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

I'll take up your challenge, Woop-i. Please name the last three legal decisions that compelled a public school to grant leave during a school year for 2+ months to a foreign country for religious purposes to a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Rastafarian, or any other established belief system.

Failing that, please provide links to the documentation of government legal proceeding against a school district for the above-described actions for any religious pilgrimage.

Here's the hint - you missed noticing your own citation about "reasonable" accomodation. But then, 'reasonable' hardly describes very many things about the Obama Administration, I have to admit. So it's no wonder that you so quickly fall back to Bush-bashing and sneering vituperance.

I sincerely hope none of th... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

I sincerely hope none of this is forgotten in 2012.

Woop will be right with you... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Woop will be right with you. Soon as he pulls his head out of his ass.

I firmly believe that it is... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I firmly believe that it is the Muslims that have shown their hatred to americans by killing many of us. The bigotry is on their side. We infidels are just protecting ourselves. ww

Howie -If I asked ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Howie -

If I asked for three weeks off around Christmas without a compelling reason to do so - I'd be denied. It's a busy time for us. If I chose to go anyway, there wouldn't be a job when I returned.

This woman is using her religion to claim a privilege that wouldn't be given any other teacher. And as a first-year teacher? Come on - that's just plain stupid. You know as well as I that the new folks DON'T get the perqs until they've been there a while.

Shit, she might as well ask for a fully vested pension while she was at it.

But her need is pres... (Below threshold)
Murgatroyd:

But her need is pressing and urgent. She wants to see Mecca before the Israelis nuke it.

Well ... first off, I've se... (Below threshold)
James H:

Well ... first off, I've seen at least one conservative Web site get its girdle in a knot about the US enforcing evil sharia law. This is manifestly an issues of US law, as Professor Volokh writes.

It's all about reasonable accommodation for an employee's religious practices ... and I don't think I have enough data to say more beyond that. Sabba, above, raises some very pertinent points.

I want to know more.

I agree - the Bush... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:
I agree - the Bush administration would have sat on their ass and done nothing to help this woman assert her rights. Their inaction would have bene cheered by the racist bigots who lines the streets of RepublicanVille, USA.

But the law of the land is the law of the land, and despite efforts by conservatives to discriminate against some Americans strictly on the basis of the name or religion, truth and justice is prevailing.

That really pisses you clowns off, doesn't it?

Woop, the only clown here is you. The issue being discussed is not a political issue. Your description of Republicans as being racist bigots is nothing but ad hominem, which is the tool of last resort for someone who is losing an argument, and in case you never noticed, Islam is a religion, not a race.

Others here have pointed out two facts that could work against this woman's case.

1) Federal law requires a reasonable accomodation of the woman's religious beliefs. The school district could argue that the woman wanted an accomodation that is unreasonable. Whether or not this argument would work for the school district I do not know.

2) The Hajj is required of a Muslim only once during an entire lifetime. The school district could argue that Islam did not require the woman to participate in the Hajj the exact year that she wanted to participate.


There you go, James, thinki... (Below threshold)

There you go, James, thinkin' like a lawyer again. Lemme 'splain you as a layman:

This was a very new teacher. (In my school district, teachers couldn't get tenure until after three years.) She was asking for, essentially, about a month and a half away, pretty much encompassing the entire time between the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year breaks. Again, in my school, this was the end of the first half and mid-terms -- a critical hunk of time. The school district would have to arrange for a sub for about three weeks solid. That, especially for a new teacher, is beyond "reasonable accommodation."

Toss in that it was in the name of fulfilling a religous obligation that just isn't that critical and time-sensitive -- it's coached in such weasel words as "able-bodied" and "can afford to." "I can't afford the time off from my job this year" is certainly a valid reason.

To the layman, "Islamic tenets" and "Shariah law" are pretty much interchangeable. This has been reinforced by countless Islamists who insist that Shariah law is an integral, inseparable part of Islam. So pushing back against Shariah law is seen as a way of resisting the Islamist movement.

I'm also running into the issue of "reasonable accommodation" in my own life, and find myself wanting to smack someone (verbally, of course) who seem to think that the term means "I get my way in everything." It is NOT a blank check -- but that's my issue, not yours.

Technically, legally, James, you might be right. But in the court of public opinion, no. And in the real world -- the messy one, not the legal fantasy where everything is clear -- it's definitely muddier.

I'm with the school district on this one.

J.

Let me explain a few things... (Below threshold)
James H:

Let me explain a few things to you, Jay Tea.

"Thinking like a lawyer," in my case, means weighing both sides of a particular case or situation, then attempting to arrive at a decision rooted in logic, fairness, justice, and the law based on that particular situation. And if I lack the information I need to reach a conclusion, then "thinking like a lawyer" means I should honestly confess this rather than shoot off my mouth like a cable TV personality.

And if I may be so bold, "thinking like a lawyer" brought us Brown v. Board of Education a a time when the court of public opinion favored racial segregation in schools. "Thinking like a lawyer" brought us Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing an individual's ability to defend himself in court when accused of criminal conduct. "Thinking like a lawyer" put the Supreme Court's imprimatur on affirmative action ... and "thinking like a lawyer" could eventually remove that imprimatur.

More prosaically, "thinking like a lawyer" gives us the ability to do business knowing that a judicial system will enforce our everyday contractual agreements.

And ironically, the "court of public opinion" has given us some sterling examples of why it is so often wrong.

Take, for example, Oklahoma's recent sharia amendment. Oklahoma's court of public opinion deemed it necessary to enjoin courts from enforcing sharia law and international law through a blatantly discriminatory amendment to the state's constitution ...

... but anybody who "thinks like a lawyer," I mean, really thinks, is aghast at a ham-handed measure that purports to upset elements of settled common law.

For example, suppose a Muslim man wanted to devise his estate according to sharia inheritance law. Even under the new amendment, a court would probably enforce a will that carefully awards daughters, sons, cousins, and so fort, one-quarter, one-half, one-eighth portions of his estate.

But what if this man devises his estate to a trust, then stipulates that the trustees will distribute that trust to his heirs in accordance with sharia? Under existing common-law principles, this man has that right. But the Oklahoma sharia amendment throws this in doubt.

Or consider this: An Oklahoma company does business with a Saudi Arabia-based manufacturer, and in their contract they stipulate that any disputes that arise would be decided through the application of Saudi law.

Even in an American court, such a provision would be enforceable. The American court would do its best to apply Saudi law to the dispute and arrive at an answer. But wait! Under this new amendment, Saudi law, based on sharia, is forbidden! Congratulations, state of Oklahoma, for unilaterally amending a private contract.

Or how about an arbitration award ordinary enforceable under federal and state arbitration acts? Suddenly unenforceable!!

Jay Tea, the court of public opinion is a thing of the moment, ever-shifting, and the very definition of arbitrary and capricious. It often cares little for equal rights, justice, or even the consequences of its opinions, acting almost solely from the id.

Given that, Jay Tea, yes, I will "think like a lawyer."

PS. Do you tell your lawye... (Below threshold)
James H:

PS. Do you tell your lawyer to think like a lawyer or think like the court of public opinion?

James, there's nothing wron... (Below threshold)

James, there's nothing wrong with "thinking like a lawyer." But it's not only not the only way, it's sometimes not even the best way.

We are a nation of laws, not lawyers. And "law" and "justice" are not synonyms.

I'm not calling for complete anarchy and the total abandonment of legal thinking. But there are times and circumstances where it's simply not the best way.

There are a lot of people who are NOT happy with the pushes being made in the name of "religious tolerance" when it conflicts with "religious freedom." Two cases in Canada are serving as warning signs for me, in that I can see them happening in the US. In one case, a woman got a job as a guard in a men's prison, then sued for the right to wear her full hijab and avoid all physical contact with men -- both of which are, reasonably, in conflict with the duties of the job. And at UPS, a bunch of Muslim women fought for the right to wear long, flowing skirts over trousers while package-handling -- never mind that such loose garments are rightfully banned as a safety hazard. One safety inspector said she saw women climbing up high ladders one-handed, while the other hand held the skirts from fluttering too much.

Yes, both happened in Canada. But you wanna bet that they couldn't happen here? There was a meat-packing plant where the Muslim workers united to demand accomodations for their prayer times -- in effect shutting down the plant several times a day. And here's a novice teacher demanding the end of the fall term off so she can go on her pilgrimage.

"Reasonable accommodation" is the standard, and I think the demands in each of these cases are unreasonable.

J.

Hmmm ... off the top of my ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Hmmm ... off the top of my head: chador on a prison guard, unreasonable, and I don't see an accommodation. Loose flowing garments onthe factory floor are also unreasonable ... but what if they could devise acceptable coverings that are tighter? That might be a reasonable accommodation.

The problem, James, is that... (Below threshold)

The problem, James, is that the plaintiffs aren't looking to compromise in the name of "reasonable accommodation." They are demanding submission to what they describe as fundamental tenets of their faith.

And too often, they are winning.

J.

Jay Tea:Would you ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea:

Would you mind pointing to something, here in America, where they're "winning?"

Jay Tea answers:

Sorry, James, but this is the easiest way for me to respond at this time. For examples, two come to mind: the Ground Zero mosque project, and the teacher case where the Justice Department is siding with the teacher. They haven't won, but they are currently "winning."

J.

And I'll need something tha... (Below threshold)
James H:

And I'll need something that involves a court, mind you. Especially useful if it's a discrimination case.

Jay Tea:Ground Zer... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea:

Ground Zero mosque is, again, simply American Muslims attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights. It's not a matter of "winning" or "losing." And I'd say the same for other mosque controversies around the country. You have American Muslims simply trying to exercise their rights under US law ... and local "courts of public opinion" trying to infringe on those rights.

This teacher case ... again, it's not the final chapter. The whole thing still needs to go to court. And as much as we can differ on whether the sought accommodation is reasonable ... this teacher does have the right to seek it.

The only reason this has go... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

The only reason this has gone to the justice dept is because she is a teacher and part of a union. If she were a waitress, during this part of the year in particular and really just about any part of the year in a tourist town, she'd lose her job and no one would say "boo" about it.

But some people are more equal than others.

Employment Jihad, it starte... (Below threshold)
dirt:

Employment Jihad, it started in meat packing plants and will end at the White House. No employer should be required to accomadate someone's religious beliefs, religion belongs in the home and place of worship. Just another example of the left helping Political Islam gain supremacists' status over other faiths.

Either We, The People, incr... (Below threshold)

Either We, The People, increase the sensitivity of our radars to bring into view the insidious incremental Islamist colonization of our beloved fraternal republic DC's tyrannical elite has hidden within its treasonous incitement, encouragement and facilitation of the 35-odd million-man invading and hostilely colonizing criminal-alien army that has us staggering -- or our nation will perish.

And we and the very Judeo-Christian/Western/Human Civilization we vanguard -- and that for more than two hundred years has owed its continuing existence to the willing sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of gallons of American blood and Trillions of our Dollars spent in its defense -- will be plunged into an Islamanazi-ruled Dark Age and a Hell on Earth, from which it is likely Mankind will never emerge.

"Radical" Islam is The Beast.

"Moderate Islam" is its (US Departments of Homeland Security, "Justice" and State-sponsored) Trojan Horse.

Jeez, dirt. Has the ghost ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jeez, dirt. Has the ghost of Jacob Marley warned you about three spirits coming to visit you yet?

"More prosaically, "thinkin... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"More prosaically, "thinking like a lawyer" gives us the ability to do business knowing that a judicial system will enforce our everyday contractual agreements. "

And 'thinking like a lawyer' gets GM bondholders screwed out of everyday contractual agreements for 'lawyerly' political decisions.

""Thinking like a lawyer" put the Supreme Court's imprimatur on affirmative action ... and "thinking like a lawyer" could eventually remove that imprimatur. "

So TLAL caused a problem and TLAL might fix the problem. Great. Maybe we shouldn't allow TLAL to cause these problems in the first place. Of course, that would save a lot of time and money and most importantly, lawyers fees.

TLAL gets us a system where everyone is looking to exploit loopholes(or even create fake ones and convince some jury that they are real), cut corners or screw someone over some minute detail that has nothing to do with the clear intent of the law.

TLAL gives us byzantine laws that only lawyers (but of course) can 'understand'. Perpetual employment for lawyers.

JLawson,You don't ... (Below threshold)
Howie:

JLawson,

You don't know the facts, as I do not. This may be her once in a lifetime moment and she is NOT asking for pay.

The anti-muslin sentiment in this thread is amazing and sad. People trying to justify they are right by comparing Islam to Christianity.

And for the record, I am for her going on her trip, but I am against the DOJ for taking her side.

Let's see if this will work... (Below threshold)

Let's see if this will work...

I don't care if she takes the trip or not. I do NOT think that giving her that much time off while still a new teacher is a "reasonable accomodation."

J.

Jay Tea:That's fai... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea:

That's fairly close to my opinion, with reservations. Her case would be much strong, IMO, if she had been denied leave several years in a row. This strikes me as the sort of case that should have been mediated, perhaps with a compromise on the number of days she could take off and a definite date, say, in her third or fourth year, when the Muslim lunar calendar and the Western calendar intersect in such a way as to make her leave more convenient for all parties.

This woman can wait until ... (Below threshold)
archie bunker:

This woman can wait until the haj season rolls around to the summer months, and she can then go without taking any work time off. It is a disgrace that this is even an issue; the school board said no, and that should be enough.

This same issue is being ad... (Below threshold)
Barbara:

This same issue is being addressed as
US school sued over denial of Haj leave
at http://arabnews.com/world/article215627.ece

The comments are rather diverse.

Show me where in the Quran ... (Below threshold)
Ferret:

Show me where in the Quran or the Hadith where it specifies for women to wear a hijab.

why don't you ignorant idio... (Below threshold)
dhakan:

why don't you ignorant idiots get your facts straight before you post your big pile of B.S. all over the internet!
Firstly a person cannot decide what time of year to perform the Hajj. It falls at a particular time of year based on a lunar calender. Think that's dumb? The Hindus do the same so why don't you guys comment about them for a change? Secondly she should be able to go whenever she decides she wants to go, not when other people decide when she should go. Where is the freedom of choice here? I bet if she wanted to take a vacation to sit naked on the beach and get drunk every night she would probably get it! If this happened to anyone from any other religion they would have full support of everyone. But because she is a Muslim suddenly this is a huge issue. I'm sorry that Muslims don't have the habit of taking off our clothes and sprouting out children from different partners - and before you idiots start commenting on how we go round killing people.... look around you - it's happening everywhere!!

One more thing - Obama is n... (Below threshold)
dhakan:

One more thing - Obama is no Muslim. The only thing remotely Muslim about that guy is his middle name. First learn what it is to be a Muslim before you ignorant people start making comments like that.

oh, dhakan. You're so cute.... (Below threshold)

oh, dhakan. You're so cute.

No one is saying she can't go. The school district is saying she can go -- but she shouldn't expect to have a job when she comes back.

She's a teacher. That period of the school year is very important. She's saying that her taking this trip that particular year is more important than her job.

And no, Muslims don't go around taking off clothes and sprouting out children in public (although they do seem to have a lot of children, so there has to be a lot of taking off of clothes going on). They do have the lead, though, in stuffing clothes with bombs and spouting out explosions over other faiths.

And as many have noted, it's highly doubtful that Obama is a Muslim. It would require him to believe in a power greater than him.

J.

Eric Holder...hmmmmmm?<br /... (Below threshold)
Amboyduke:

Eric Holder...hmmmmmm?
Do you think the DOJ now stands for the Department Of Jihad?

Dhakan:Not to be t... (Below threshold)
James H:

Dhakan:

Not to be too much of a dick about it ... but you don't know what you're talking about here. Aside from the conspiratorial whispers here regarding "employment jihad," the question in that case is not whether this woman should be allowed to take her haj, but rather what constitutes a reasonable accommodation of her religion.

And, no, she doesn't get to dictate haj dates directly to her employer, any more than I could dictate to my employer what dates I will take off for Saturnalia. Or Christmas, for that matter.

Rather, the question is what constitutes a reasonable accommodation of her beliefs ... that is, a compromise that allows this woman to freely exercise her religion, yet does not place too large a burden on her employer.

James HDo not tell m... (Below threshold)
dhakan:

James H
Do not tell me I don't know what I am talking about! I am not being a "dick" as you call it I am just merely stating a few facts. And I don't believe she was dictating anything to her employer. She was asking for unpaid leave. The school could have negotiated something with her and maybe given her less time off or even agreed that she paid for a substitute teacher from her own pocket. I'm not saying the school is 100% wrong, but she's not either - maybe she should have informed them that she would need the time off before agreeing to work with them. But the point is she wanted to take time off because of her ISLAMIC faith, so obviously this has to spark a few fireworks because of that one word! Suddenly it's all over the media and anti-muslim comments are flying around everywhere! Imagine if someone was denied time off for Christmas. I mean that too occurs once a year - celebrate next year! In that case the employer would have been 100% wrong.

Yes, dhakan, you are being ... (Below threshold)

Yes, dhakan, you are being a dick. And it's clear that you do NOT know what you're talking about, because you are NOT just stating a few facts, you are engaging in rampant speculation and throwing a lot more heat than light.

As James stated, the school district is legally obligated to make REASONABLE accomodations for her. The dispute here is what is considered "reasonable." There is no sign anywhere that the district did or did not try to negotiate with her, but I suspect they did -- they don't like going to court, and their lawyers would have advised them to to do so. So my speculation -- based on common sense, which is more grounded than your statements -- is she refused to compromise.

As for paying for her replacement out of her own pocket, that's utterly unacceptable. It's HER presence that is required, for the continuity for her students. There was no shortage of substitutes cited, or lack of funding to pay them.

Yes, there are those folks who see "Islamic" or "Muslim" and get a tad snarky. I'm sometimes one of them. So what? What relevance does that have to the merits of her case?

Muslims in America neither dominate enough to simply demand their way, nor are persecuted enough to merit special considerations. They get treated pretty much like everyone else. And in this case, asking for three weeks off at the end of the first half of the school year is unreasonable.

J.

JI also commented th... (Below threshold)
dhakan:

J
I also commented that she should have informed the school that she needed the time off before she signed a contract with them which she clearly did not. And I agree she didn't need three weeks off - she could have done it in 10 days maximum. I'm not being a total dick I'm just fed up of these things getting blown out of proportion and having to read anti-muslim comments all over the internet for no good reason.

Dhakan:Your later ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Dhakan:

Your later comments do indicate some miniscule knowledge of the relevant law. But your initial comments indicated no such awareness.

For example:

Secondly she should be able to go whenever she decides she wants to go, not when other people decide when she should go

See comments upthread (particularly mine) regarding reasonable accommodations. This comment also indicated a belief that this woman automatically had the right to dictate what days she should be able to take off for a religious observation.

As noted upthread, that is not how this law works. This law requires reasonable accommodations. And as for the question of whether an employee's faith automatically trumps an employer's need for work to be done, I suggest you examine the situations of Christian firefighters, police officers, doctors, and journalists who work on Christmas and Easter.

Where is the freedom of choice here? I bet if she wanted to take a vacation to sit naked on the beach and get drunk every night she would probably get it!

Here you attribute to the teacher's employers an anti-Muslim animus, when in fact they may merely be intransigent. (Said intransigence, however, does not necessarily eliminate a claim of discrimination via impact)

If this happened to anyone from any other religion they would have full support of everyone. But because she is a Muslim suddenly this is a huge issue.

Well, yes, there's a certain interest here because of her faith. But I would also note, again, that the issue at the heart of the case may lay with scheduling needs, not with animus toward this woman's religion.

I'm sorry that Muslims don't have the habit of taking off our clothes and sprouting out children from different partners

And I have no idea what this means.

But in sum, Dhakan, if somebody is obviously ignorant of the issues, I will not hesitate to inform that person of it if I think there is dialogue to be had, if I find the person particularly noxious, or if the person is Jay Tea, unless counterpoints have already been raised.

And for the record, Dhakan,... (Below threshold)
James H:

And for the record, Dhakan, I have had to work for much of the festival of Saturnalia. I am discomfited.

Jay TeaI would like ... (Below threshold)
jader:

Jay Tea
I would like to know how the story about the teacher reminds you of the story about the lady in Canada wanting to work in a mans prison. The only thing similar about the two stories is that they are both muslim women. They are two completely different scenarios.

jader, I thought I spelled ... (Below threshold)

jader, I thought I spelled it out. They are two cases where Muslims are making what I consider unreasonable demands upon their employers in the name of their Muslim faith. I should have tossed in the Muslim taxi drivers who have refused passengers carrying alcohol or accompanied by guide dogs, as alcohol and dogs are considered bad by Islam.

Sorry, the West is not an Islamic society. It is a secular one. And Muslims need to adapt to it, because we will not bend our ways to live by your prejudices and rules just because our non-Muslim ways offend you.

J.

Sorry, the West is... (Below threshold)
James H:
Sorry, the West is not an Islamic society. It is a secular one. And Muslims need to adapt to it, because we will not bend our ways to live by your prejudices and rules just because our non-Muslim ways offend you.

Wrong again, Jay Tea. Both Muslims and (or, indeed, any immigrants) and their host countries must make concessions to accommodate each other. Striking that balance is a matter of etiquette and, occasionally, law.

Furthermore, American Muslims, just like any other Americans, are perfectly free to avail themselves of the legislatures and the courts in an effort to change the laws and seek redress of injustice.

James, I think you have it ... (Below threshold)

James, I think you have it wrong. Muslims are perfectly free to practice their religion. What they are not free to do is demand that the rest of us abide by them, too. For example, in Spain, a Muslim family is suing a teacher for MENTIONING ham in class. Add that in to the aforementioned Muslim cabbies.

It's coming.

J.

OK. Let me clarify. If Mu... (Below threshold)
James H:

OK. Let me clarify. If Muslims cab drivers object to accommodating seeing-eye dogs, or object to transporting people with alcohol, they are certainly free to lobby their legislators to change the laws. Although good luck on the former point. It's already firmly resolved that allowing seeing eye dogs in places dogs otherwise would prohibited is a ... wait for it ... reasonable accommodation of the needs of a blind person.

So you are basically admitt... (Below threshold)
jader:

So you are basically admitting Jay Tea that you have a problem with Muslims. There are a lot of non muslim people out there too who make unreasonable demands, why not toss those in too.
As far as adapting to society, there are thousands and thousands of muslims out there who have adapted very well into the American society. You are just picking on the minority that don't and making out that the whole of the muslim community are that way. NOT true. I think YOU should change YOUR prejudice ways and stop being so narrow minded!

One more thing Jay Tea. Mus... (Below threshold)
jader:

One more thing Jay Tea. Muslims are not asking the rest of the world to abide by their rules, they are just asking for a little respect and consideration without the judgement and the snide remarks. Yes there are a few crazy people out there with their demands, but I think you will find such people in every faith/culture. If you think muslims are not accommodating think about the $11M christmas tree that has been put up in Abu Dhabi recently, not to mention all the festive activities going on in the malls all across the UAE. Who is all this for? Certainly not for the muslim natives!

jader, I have a problem wit... (Below threshold)

jader, I have a problem with people making unreasonable demands. It's a major theme of my work here. In this particular case, it's some Muslims doing in the name of Islam. And I am quite aware that there are plenty of Muslims who are not making unreasonable demands.

And no, these particular Muslims are NOT "asking for a little respect and consideration" -- it's more than just a little, and they are demanding it.

As far as "without the judgement and the snide remarks" -- NOBODY has the legal right to that. Sorry, that's part and parcel with being a free society.

Abu Dhabi's multi-million-dollar Christmas tree? Way to go. They just offended those who resent the over-commercialization of Christmas, and did nothing for non-Christians like me. Personally, I see it as more of the "mine's bigger than yours" mindset that has them also building the world's tallest building and other signs of insecurities and senses of shortcomings.

If my opinions bother you... oh, well.

J.




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