The ‘Is it Legal?’ segment of The O’Reilly Factor last night dealt with a disturbing decision by the Obama Justice Department that has received very little publicity. It is yet another example of the Obama administration’s policy of accommodation to Islamic sharia law, irrespective of its impact on our own society.
Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to sue a suburban Chicago school district for denying a Muslim middle school female teacher three weeks of unpaid leave to abandon her students and make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The teacher wanted to perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia which every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in a lifetime if he or she is able to do so.
Ironically, the Obama administration is suing over a practice that discriminates against women. Under Islamic law, a woman is not allowed to perform Hajj alone and must be accompanied by an adult Muslim Mahram (father, husband, son or brother etc.). And for an administration that claims it regards a quality education for our public school students to be one of its highest priorities, it is willing to fight for the “right” of a Muslim teacher to abandon the students in her charge so that she can trek to Mecca for a few weeks.
In any case, note that the religious requirement for a Muslim to perform Hajj is once in a lifetime if financially and physically able to do so. This teacher, Safoorah Khan, had no more than two years of service under her belt at the suburban Chicago school when, in 2008, she decided that she could not wait any longer to make her pilgrimage. After the school district twice denied her request, the teacher wrote the board that “based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing hajj.” She resigned shortly thereafter. In November 2008, Khan filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which punted the case over to the Justice Department after finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred.
This week, Eric Holder’s team in the Justice Department’s civil rights division decided to bring the school district to federal court on Khan’s behalf. The relief that the Obama administration is seeking is a court order requiring the school district to adopt policies that reasonably accommodate its employees’ religious practices and beliefs, to reinstate Khan with back pay and pay her compensatory damages.
There is nothing “reasonable” in Khan’s demand for making her pilgrimage on her own timetable. If anyone deserves “compensatory damages,” it is the school system which has to defend itself against this frivolous lawsuit.
As usual, the Obama administration is pandering to accommodate the demands of the radical Muslim community. Obama is fulfilling his promise to the Muslim world, made during his Cairo speech last year, “to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit.”
Khan saw fit to leave her students for about ten percent of the school year because she desired to perform her pilgrimage when, and for however long, she desired. Why now when Khan has a lifetime to fulfill her religious duty (provided that she has a male Muslim accompanying her)? And why did she ask for a three week leave when all the essential duties of the pilgrimage are normally performed in 5 to 6 days?
This isn’t the first time that the Obama administration has gone out of its way to enforce special accommodations for Muslims. For example, as I described in my book Lethal Engagement, in response to complaints filed by Somali Muslim employees with the help of a Chicago-based chaptr of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decided that JBS Swift violated their civil rights by dismissing those who refused to work during Ramadan because they were not permitted to take special time off during work hours for prayer. The demand would have disrupted work schedules, leaving their fellow non-Muslim workers to pick up the slack. The EEOC chose to send its decision by letter directly to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, showing their close relationship in the Obama era.
Barack Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder are willing to subordinate American values of individual liberty, freedom of expression and equal treatment under the law in order to accommodate radical Muslims’ special demands in “practicing religion as they see fit.”
Radical Muslims are exploiting our democratic system and using the irreproachable shield of “religion” to disguise a barbaric system of oppressive sharia laws. Rather than accommodate them, Western democracies must instead challenge the ideas and methods of radical Islamists at every turn.