Monday, March 28, 2011

Government Bias Toward Islam?

Safoorah Khan, with the assistance of the United States Department of Justice, is suing a Chicago school district for discrimination and denial of religious rights because she was denied a period of unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. According to initial reports Khan, a Muslim, had been working at the school for about 7 months and was denied the three weeks she requested based on the fact that she hadn’t been employed that long. Khan claims religious bias and the government is supporting her saying the school has violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It is the duty of every Muslim to join the millions of pilgrims at the Hajj (the pilgrimage) in Mecca at least once in their lifetime. Kahn hoped to go in 2008. She was denied the requested three weeks of unpaid leave at the time and she resigned. The government has asked that she be reinstated with full back pay.

In the Mormon church all able bodied men are required to complete at least one missionary assignment and all able bodied women are allowed to complete one. One has to wonder if a Mormon had requested three weeks of unpaid leave, so soon after being employed by the school district, if the Justice Department would be so vigorously pursuing the case. In its efforts to show the United States has no bias against Islam the Holder Justice Department, and the administration in general, seems to be pushing things the other way and showing bias toward Islam.

The mosque near Ground Zero is a good example. President Obama eventually came out in favor of the mosque being built, accurately citing the Constitution as the legal grounds for allowing it. And while I agree Islam has every legal right to build the mosque wherever they please, morality and compassion would dictate, to most people, the mosque should be moved to another sight to avoid causing pain and anger to the majority of the people of New York. The “healing” that Islam stated was their purpose for building the multi-cultural mosque and community center could have easily (perhaps more easily) been accomplished in a mosque built in an area away from the 9/11 site. The President certainly could have said this when he addressed the issue. He did not.

If Safoorah Kahn wins her case it will be a major step toward employers no longer being able to refuse any request for time off by employees. Time on the job is a consideration for most employers when it comes to taking time off, paid or unpaid. The reason for the request is another. Islam requires all Muslims to make the pilgrimage “at least once in their lifetime.” Was it necessary for Kahn to make that pilgrimage in 2008 and take three weeks away so soon after she was hired? I guess the court will decide that, with Eric Holder’s help it seems.

I’m sure I’ll be called a racist or bigot for my views but that’s OK. As far as I’m concerned it’s not about religious bias but what’s fair for both the employer and the employee. Again I ask – would a Christian request be granted as asked in the same circumstance and would the Justice Department be fighting for Christian rights as they are for Islam? Something tells me they wouldn’t. But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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