A Seattle school district reportedly sent a letter to its teachers, requesting that they bless district Muslim students in Arabic during Ramadan.
The letter also reportedly requested that teachers give preferential treatment to Muslim students during the Islamic holiday — which is a month long — including permitting students to miss classes and exams.
Ramadan, which honors Allah, began on Monday.
What are the details?
The Dieringer School District reportedly sent the letter to teachers in March.
The letter purportedly encourages teachers to wish students “Ramadan Mubarak” — “Happy Ramadan” — or “Ramadan Kareem,” which means “Have a generous Ramadan.”
The letter also requests that teachers excuse students from testing on two of the more important days of Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha.
CAIR reportedly encouraged the district to act in such a manner, and Superintendent Judy Martinson reportedly complied with the organization’s requests.
You can read more on the background here.
What about this lawsuit?
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund is alleging that the district is violating their employees’ conscience by forcing them to accommodate Muslim students’ religious beliefs.
Daniel Piedra, the organization’s executive director, said that the district is violating its teachers’ First Amendment rights.
“By urging teachers to bless Muslim students in Arabic, the district is running roughshod over the First Amendment’s mandate of government neutrality toward religion,” Piedra said. “A school district would never order teachers to ‘welcome’ Catholic students during Easter with ‘He is risen, alleluia!'”
“Singling out Muslim students for special treatment is blatantly unconstitutional,” Piedra said.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIR, told Fox News that any lawsuit is simply a “sign of the growing Islamophobia in our nation that showing respect for and accommodating the religious traditions of Muslim students could result in punitive legal action.”
“Pluralism in America means recognizing the wide variety of holidays celebrated by students of different faiths and backgrounds, including by saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ ‘Happy Diwali,’ or ‘Ramadan Mubarak,'” Hooper noted.
Fox News reported on Tuesday that Martinson sent a note to members of the school district, which read, “The Dieringer School District has not and would not violate the First Amendment by endorsing any religious observations. Be assured that we respect the personal beliefs of you and your family.”