Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another Bad Decision on Islam

How about this little ditty, friends?  Safoorah Kahn had a grand total of nine months tenure teaching middle school math in Illinois when she made a request for three weeks off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj being one of the five pillars of Islam).  As her absence would leave the school without its only "math lab instructor" (whatever that is), her request was denied.  She quit and went anyway.

To her rescue now rides Attorney General Holder leading the Obama Army of the Faithful.  The Justice Department has filed suit, stating that the actions of the school district forced Ms. Kahn to choose between her job and her faith.

Rubbish.  Utter rubbish.  I have no problem with Ms. Kahn's desire to make the hajj in fulfillment of religious duty.  The plain truth of the matter is that one only has to do so ONCE IN A LIFETIME.  That Ms. Kahn decided to do so in her first year of employment in a new job--while school was in session--demonstrates that the choice was not between her job and her religion--but one of scheduling convenience and preference.  This is not the school district's problem--it is Ms. Kahn's--and that the Obama Justice Department feels the need to curry favor with the Islamic community by taking up this suit is an insult to anyone who manages life's commitments without federal intervention.  I would JUST ONCE like to see some plumed knight of American Islamic victimology stand up and say, "hey, this is just dumb.  She can make hajj another time."


Tom de Plume said...

New Jersey school teachers need not take away from their summer vacations to attend their annual union meeting, why shouldn't this Muslim be allowed to take her haj during the school year?


Mudge said...

Actually, NOT having her in school for three weeks would probably benefit the children. Every day someone of that level of "commitment" to her teaching is in the presence of our youth, the less likely those children will emerge as responsible citizens.

Anonymous said...

TdP, never could understand this argument. So if you take away the teachers convention during the school year and hold it during the summer, the children would still go to school for 180 days. Instead of getting out on June 18th, they would get out the 16th. Teachers get paid for 186 days, they don't get paid for the convention.

Tom de Plume said...

Now hold on a second anonymous. Are you saying that teachers work 186 days versus the 230 to 240 that the average private sector employee works? I'll have to remember that the next time the issue of the underpaid teacher comes up. Why, one would have to figure that into the equation.

Anonymous said...

TdP, it's exactly what I was writing. I don't agree with the crap about the convention during the school year/summer thing but I will agree with you about the 186 days vs. 230. Then you get the argument that they work evenings preparing lesson plans and grading. Do lesson plans really change that much from year to year? I may not have worked at night grading something but I certainly worked nights doing reports.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with your assessment, but would like to add two things:

1.) Hajj, which follows a lunar calendar, will not fall in the summer months for another decade or so. If this teacher could have afforded to wait that long, I agree, she should have waited. If she is bound to a husband who insists on going now, or if she is accompanying older parents to assist them, she may not have had this flexibility.

2.) Math lab sounds to me like simplified math problems done via computer (i.e. click on the correct answer). Frankly, I suspect a smart 5th grader could teach it. Schools will bring in long-term substitutes for women on maternity leave. That this school could not replace their math lab teacher for 3 weeks seems a bit dumb too.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Anon--thanks for the note. Some thoughts

1) I buy all of what you say, but what it represents is a tough, personal, emotional logistics challenge--not an unconstitutional abridgment of religious freedom.
2) While I might agree with your assessment of math lab, I have no evidence to do so with authority.

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