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Muslim Prayer in Schools: CAIR's Push Sends Twitter Into Tizzy

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 06:08 PM

When various news reports began surfacing in June 2013 of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) making statements of public school policies concerning Muslim prayer in schools, users on social media were abuzz with commentary.

CAIR, a lobbying organization that describes itself as presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public, has, at times, drawn scrutiny and criticism because of perceived extreme views.

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When officials in the Roseville School District in metro Detroit adopted a policy that empowered teachers to hand out permission slips for Bible classes at a local Baptist church, CAIR jumped into the fray and issued a news release, decrying the decision, according to EAGnews.org.

According to its website EAGnews.org — Education Action Group — is a national nonprofit organization based in Michigan which aims to promote sensible education reform.

In a letter sent to Roseville district leaders, CAIR Executive Director Dawus Walid wrote, "School staff and teachers are not to serve as advocates for one particular religion or congregation within a religion by passing out slips, inviting parents to give permission for their children to attend religious instruction."

EAG News cited another meeting around the same time period by CAIR organizers in Dearborn, another Detroit suburb, where CAIR organizers met with public school leaders.

However, no special accommodations or policies were made for the prayers of Muslims or any other religion, said David Mustonen, director of community and public relations for Dearborn public schools.

"We are a public school district. All students have the freedom to practice their religion, whatever their religion, as long as it's not a disruption to the school day," Mustonen said.

He also noted that there are no special policies that allow for student-led prayers in Dearborn public schools.

Parents have always been allowed to pull their children out of class if they want to attend religious services, but the students are responsible for the schoolwork they missed, Mustonen said.

Of the approximately 19,600 students in the Dearborn public school district, 55 to 60 percent of them practice the Muslim faith, Mustonen said.

An inaccurate report in a local Dearborn-area newspaper after the CAIR meeting with school officials led to EAG News and other Internet sites believing that Dearborn made special accommodations for Muslim students, Mustonen said.

Twitter users also took to the platform to opine on the report of EAG and similar outlets, even though that initial story was incorrect.

"Don’t read this, unless you want to see your head explode," one poster wrote, linking to the EAG article. 

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When various news reports began surfacing in June 2013 of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) making statements of public school policies concerning Muslim prayer in schools, users on social media were abuzz with commentary.
muslim, prayer, schools, cair, twitter
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2015-08-13
Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 06:08 PM
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