No Three-Week Vacations for the Hajj? Don't Worry, the DOJ's On It

Two interesting poll results have come to light in recent days. The first was Barack Obama’s lowest ever approval rating, and the second was a poll commissioned by ABC News and the Washington Post that revealed that only 43% were in favor of ObamaCare with 52% opposed. Other polls have indicated as much as a 60% level of disapproval. However, Jake Tapper of ABC did mention the poll, calling it the “lowest level of popularity ever.” The Washington Post did not publish the results of its own poll.

Such selective publishing has also infected a very interesting story relating to a Muslim teacher and Eric Holder’s Justice Department, a story which has received little mainstream media press, but reasonable play in the blogosphere. In December of 2008, Safoorah Khan, a middle school teacher in the Berkeley school district (a Chicago-area district), asked her principal to give her three weeks off during the school year so she could make the hajj, a ritual journey to Mecca, the most holy city of Islam, that all Muslims are expected to make once in their lifetime if possible. Her principal refused because the request was not related to her professional duties and exceeded the union contract under which the school operates. He no doubt also refused because to grant her request would have disrupted the continuity of the educations of her students (Khan apparently offered to take the time without pay). Enter Eric Holder.

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleging that the school district violated Khan’s civil rights by refusing to accommodate her religious practices. The DOJ is demanding an order forcing the Berkeley district to adopt policies that would allows such religious observances, and is also seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and reinstatement for Kahn, whose actions led to her dismissal. “Employees should not have to choose between their religious practice and their livelihood,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Right Division. The Equal Employment OpportunityCommission is also involved in the case. This is the first such case ever brought by the DOJ.

Many readers will no doubt remember Mr. Perez as instrumental in dismissing the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers, a case that was actually won, and arguably committing perjury to cover the fact that political appointees such as himself ruled the decision-making process. They will also no doubt recall that the Civil Rights Division has adopted an unwritten -- though widely known -- policy against protecting the civil rights of whites. All of this was brought to light by past and present Civil Rights Division attorneys and was documented and confirmed in a recent report of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

It is tempting, and likely correct, to believe that Mr. Holder’s DOJ is involved primarily because Ms. Khan is a Muslim, in the hope of righting what they see as anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice rampant in the American population. That such rampant prejudice is essentially nonexistent seems to bother them not at all. For example, several years ago, NBC enlisted men in obviously Muslim garb to attend a NASCAR race in Virginia, making their presence obvious, even provocative, in the hope of obtaining incendiary footage of racist race fans, but the planted Muslims were treated no differently than anyone else. No racism; no footage. Mr. Obama’s support and rhetoric in favor of Muslim ideals and Muslim organizations, even those with clear links to terrorism, are equally well-known, so the DOJ’s involvement should hardly be a surprise to the well-informed.

But by entering into this case, the DOJ seeks to do much mischief in the support of Muslim tradition and Sharia (Islamic law). Schools have of late become primarily political footballs, when they’re not farm teams for professional football teams. All but ignored is that they exist to provide a free, common education for American children, an education not only in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in shared American values and responsibilities, values and responsibilities that if actually taught and enforced will enable most children to one day become responsible citizens. Anything that interferes with this process should and must be resisted.