Accuracy in Media

Political Islam’s ideological battle fronts are many. They can include the obvious like the liberation of Iraq or the rampant domestic and foreign policy speeches given under the guise of Friday sermons in mosques around America. However, an ideological front which is gaining traction among Islamists is that of religious accommodations (or demands)
in our free society. Every week, it seems we are seeing new iterations
of the same issue. Soon we must all ask — at what point do Muslim
requests for accommodations to religious practices and beliefs cross
the line of the fundamental basis of American liberty and freedom?

First, we heard about a large group of Somali Muslim airport cabbies in Minneapolis
refusing to provide service to travelers carrying alcohol or using
dogs. At first, the airport moved to accommodate, but then the Somalis
lost the battle to impose coercive interpretations of sharia (Islamic law) upon airport travelers. We recently have also seen airports, schools and universities agreeing to install foot-washing
stations for Muslim airport cabbies and students at a significant cost
to taxpayers in the name of special accommodations for Muslims. In Lincoln Park, Michigan, a few Muslim women insisted that a co-ed health club to which they signed up provide them a women’s-only room for exercise. Fitness USA acquiesced
under fears of litigation despite the fact that the Muslim women signed
up for no such guarantee with their enrollment contract.

In the past few weeks we’ve seen the Islamist political agenda in the U.S. carry itself further bringing the debate to Carver Elementary School in Oak Park, California.
A substitute teacher brought forth a complaint to the district’s school
board that a 15 minute break in classroom teaching was carved out for
Muslim prayers. The influx of over 100 Somali Muslim students from
another failed school brought with it swift efforts by Carver
administration to accommodate to their needs. The issue has since
carried far beyond San Diego
and simple personal accommodation. The debate centers on the limits to
which accommodation can impose changes and obligations upon others and
on the entire system. Some argue that religious freedom is secondary to
classroom instruction time and the strict separation of religion and
state. Others have contrarily taken the opportunity and suggested, in
all fairness, that public schools have a more global “daily prayer time
policy”.

While a host of groups all the way from the Thomas More Law Center to the ACLU are following closely these accommodation issues in California’s
second largest school district, few Muslims, save the Islamists, have
weighed in on where this case highlights the differences between a
personal, spiritual Islam and political Islam. It is imperative that
other Muslims stand up to attempts by Islamists to Islamize western
society on behalf of the name of Muslims and a single interpretation of Islamic practice in general society.

In submitting to the accommodation, Brent North, the SDUSD (San Diego Unified School District)
attorney compared it to the 1993 court direction to San Diego Unified
allowing lunchtime Bible fellowship meetings. He cited directives from
the Department of Education guidelines which equated non-religious
excuses from class with religious ones. North stated,

“What
is unique about this request is the specificity of the religious
requirement that a prayer be offered at a certain time on the
clock….The district’s legal obligation in response to a request that a
prayer must be performed at a particular time is to treat that request
the same as it would treat a student’s request to receive an insulin
shot at a particular time.”

Additional accommodations in the school include the removal of pork from the lunch menu at the school among others.

The
non-Muslim naysayers to these accommodations enter the debate under the
premise that taxpayer funded institutions should not be in the business
of promoting a specific religion or making accommodations for one which
they do not do for all. Even the notoriously anti-religious ACLU has
been relatively silent in this case probably flummoxed by their own
hypocritical conflict between minority advocacy politics and their
underappreciated ideological incompatibilities with Islamism.

CAIR-San Diego’s
representative, Edgar Hopida laid out a veiled warning stating, “our
country is transforming demographically, religiously… our country has
to now accommodate things that are not traditionally accounted for
before.” And Ibrahim Hooper goes even further chiming in from CAIR’s
national office stating that the school needs to go beyond providing a
space and non-instructional time for prayer but rather should
accommodate the daily schedule since Islam requires prayers at a
specific time in the day. Hooper told Cybercast News Service, “Muslims just have logistical requirements that need to be filled.”

This
behavior and Islamist commentary which exploits personal practices of
the Muslim faith in order to make public statements and impose the
mandates of one’s personal faith upon general society is classical
behavior for Islamists. We saw it with the flying imams and now we see
it with demands for the accommodation of an entire school time schedule
for Muslim prayer obligations.

Just as we saw with the flying imams
and their ill-advised trumped up Islamist lawsuit against US Airways
and the reporting John Does, this also is not about prayer. Many of us
Muslims grew up in pubic schools for decades and performed our five
daily prayers at their prescribed times and never asked for special
treatment or accommodation not afforded to every other individual in
our schools regardless of faith. There is no doubt that a Muslim’s five
daily prayers are a central part of our spiritual rituals and
relationship with God alone and in congregation. But prayer is about a
personal conversation with God. It is not about Islamizing society or
imposing costs and inconveniences upon anyone else.

Schools
and public places should whenever possible provide a place to pray as
it does for non-religious needs of students. However, the time to pray
is between an individual and God. A school should not impose that time
and allowance upon the entire student body. Most Muslims believe that
other than on Friday’s congregational noon prayer, the time for prayer
encompasses five different relatively long windows of time from dawn to
dusk. The comparison of the need for a Muslim to perform their prayer
at exactly the prescribed time to giving insulin to a diabetic is pure
deception by Islamists and misunderstanding by non-Muslims. This is one
of the central problems of public accommodation—which interpretation of
a faith does one apply? How does a school differentiate what is a
reasonable religious obligation from a more unreasonable, rigid
manifestation of political collectivism?

The
Koran teaches Muslims that God did not make our faith to be too
difficult. For example, prayer can be completed up until the time for
the next prayer. Many Muslims, whether in class or at work will wait
until a natural break in order to complete the prescribed prayer.
Demanding a specific time with no flexibility within a few hours is not
only too rigid, but crosses the line of coercion and imposition of the
Muslim faith upon others. Carver may have placated this set of Muslims
but what will happen to a society which becomes a dangerous competition
of religious accommodations and placation? Which demand becomes too
much for which the majority can acquiesce?

The
Establishment Clause of our Constitution and the pluralism upon which
our nation is based carries with it principles which should always be
remembered. Our freedom to practice our personal faith should never be
denied. And the courts have repeatedly endorsed this as a right
guaranteed by our First Amendment rights to free speech and religious
practice.

However, once that right begins to impose a cost, whether financial or experiential, upon another citizen, that right ends.  For with that cost, it becomes an imposition—a coercive force. A political force—in this case, Islamism.

Our
shared schedules, schools, legislatures, and neighborhoods in the glory
of our pluralism must provide spaces for us to practice our personal
faith and honor the liberty of individuals to choose their own
practices or no practice at all. We cannot suffocate other faiths by
the schedules and rules of our own. This is the definition of Muslim anti-Islamism—Muslims who believe in and practice their faith but refuse to allow its coercion in the body politic.

The
protections afforded to minorities in the Bill of Rights must also be
afforded to the majority. A minority cannot and should not impose its
own prayer clock, diet, dress, rituals, and spiritual practice upon the
majority and neither should the majority upon the minority. There will
be those who will cite the celebration of Christmas as an example of
mandated holidays and faith-based scheduling. Yet, the vast majority of
our holidays are national in orientation and not faith-based. This
exception rooted in a nation founded by Christians and yet maintained
in an exemplary anti-theocratic ethos is hardly the rule. This example
of the public recognition of Christmas actually becomes the foundation
for the respect of other religious holidays from Yom Kippur to Ramadan.

Islamist
organizations, like CAIR who never met a demand from rigid Muslims they
didn’t like, will continue to demand ‘logistical requirements of faith’
all the while intimidating non-Muslims into allowing them to control
public spaces and times. Whether cabbies in Minnesota, children at San Diego schools, or women at Michigan
fitness clubs, the Islamist agenda is transparent. It’s all about
accommodation with no sense of moderation. Necessary for the validity
of these demands of accommodation is a deeply rigid uncompromising
interpretation of Islam—salafism and Wahhabism. Flexibility and
moderation would make these demands generally disappear.

We should understand that these are not the first Muslims ever in America
to try and complete their prayers, fasting, holidays and other
spiritual requirements in a secular school system. Some of us have done
it for years with never a demand for accommodation but only a request
for personal space and occasional ‘make-up’ of missed class time.

At
the end of the day, it’s about the philosophical orientation of
Muslims. Are we Americans who happen to be Muslim or rather are we
Muslims who demand to be American?

There is no greater laboratory of religious liberty and freedom than in the United States.
Most of our parents escaped our motherlands in order to practice our
personal spirituality more freely here than in so-called Muslim lands.
They did not come to exploit and impose. American freedoms and openness
to accommodate will be exploited by Islamists seeking a Muslim body
politic. This will all continue as long as other non-Islamist and
anti-Islamist Muslims stay silent to the exploitation of Islam for the
Islamist political agenda.

 

The original article can be found at http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/



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