Critics of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim teacher in Illinois say it is politically motivated.
Government lawyers filed the religious discrimination suit in December on behalf of Safoorah Khan, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Khan quit her job in Berkeley, a suburb of Chicago, when she was refused time off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Critics say Khan was requesting a three-week absence, well beyond the usual accommodation to employees’ religion, and the Justice Department should not have become involved. They suggest the Obama administration filed the lawsuit in an effort to reach out to U.S. Muslims.
Off to Mecca She Goes
…Safoorah Khan, 29, was hired to teach middle-school math in November 2007. According to her lawyer, she was happy in her job, which included preparing sixth, seventh, and eighth graders for state tests, and running the “math lab.” After nine months on the job, Khan requested a three-week leave of absence in order to perform the hajj — the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are obliged to undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it.
Employers are required by law to honor requests for religious accommodations provided that they do not impose “undue hardship” on the employer or other employees. Berkeley officials maintained that a three-week absence in December — which would have denied the school its only math-lab instructor right before exams — was unreasonable and not covered by the teachers’-union contract. They denied her request. Khan decided to make the trip anyway and submitted her resignation. Read more at nationalreview.com.