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.
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.