The letter from Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie to Superintendent Jeremy Lyons said: “Liberty High School’s policy should be neutral toward religion. However, it appears that students are being treated different based on their religious beliefs. Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation’s enduring commitment to religious liberty.”
Exactly. Where at Liberty High School is the Christian prayer room? The Jewish prayer room? The Hindu prayer room?
Also, note that in the photo of the Muslim students praying at Liberty High School, the boys are up front and the girls are way behind them. The KERA News reporter doesn’t seem to have been curious about why this was so. It is in accord with Islamic law, as several hadiths have Muhammad saying that if a woman is in front of a man as he is praying, his prayer is invalidated:
“Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of ‘Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black dog. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil.” (Sahih Muslim 1032)
“Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A woman, an ass and a dog disrupt the prayer, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that.” (Sahih Muslim 1034)
“‘Urwa b. Zubair reported: ‘A’isha asked: What disrupts the prayer? We said: The woman and the ass. Upon this she remarked: Is the woman an ugly animal? I lay in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) like the bier of a corpse and he said prayer.” (Sahih Muslim 1037)
“Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: Qatadah said: I heard Jabir ibn Zayd who reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas; and Shu’bah reported the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: A menstruating woman and a dog cut off the prayer. (Sunan Abu Dawud 703)
“Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: Ikrimah reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas, saying: I think the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: When one of you prays without a sutrah, a dog, an ass, a pig, a Jew, a Magian, and a woman cut off his prayer, but it will suffice if they pass in front of him at a distance of over a stone’s throw.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 704)
No one at Liberty High School appears concerned about this degradation of women.
“Prayer Rooms Are Just One Way Public Schools Accommodate Students And Religious Freedom,” by Stella M. Chávez, KERA News, March 23, 2017:
A classroom used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas attorney general’s office last week. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns about the room. The Frisco superintendent called the letter a “publicity stunt” and said the prayer room has been in use for several years without complaints.
Prayer rooms are just one way public schools in Frisco and across Texas accommodate students and religion.
Tim Boyer was so unhappy about the prayer room at Liberty High that he went to this week’s Frisco school board meeting and spoke his mind.
“Liberty High School is not a mosque. It’s not a synagogue. It’s not a tabernacle. It’s not a temple. It’s not a church,” Boyer said. “It is a school. It is a public school supported by taxpayers for the purpose of educating our children.”
The Frisco Independent School District has said it didn’t violate any state or federal laws by having a prayer room and that the room is open to students of all faiths.
It’s not clear how many public schools in Texas have prayer rooms or designated areas where students can pray, but they are in some schools across the state and country.
“You may hear it said sometimes that prayer’s been kicked out of public schools,” said Joy Baskin, director of legal services with the Texas Association of School Boards. “In fact, what has been determined by the courts is that schools can’t compel prayer.”
Baskin said prayer rooms in schools are acceptable and legal under the First Amendment. Schools can also give students time to pray, whether it’s during free time or a lunch period. They can give students passes to leave class to pray or leave campus for religious education.
“It’s a concept that courts have looked at for many years,” Baskin said. “It’s called ‘release time,’ and it’s the idea that in order to follow a tenet of faith, the student is briefly excused. It’s an opportunity to have an excused absence in order to follow a tenet of faith.”
Time for prayer isn’t the only religious accommodation you’ll find in public schools. Students can wear a head covering, for example, or a schools can meet students’ dietary restrictions due to their religion. Baskin says all of this is OK as long as it’s not an “undue burden on the school.”
“There are students in Texas who’ve asked to be excused all day on Fridays, every Friday, in order to attend religious services on Friday and most districts have considered that an undue burden because of the amount of class the student would miss,” Baskin said.
Liberty High School established a prayer room in part because Muslim students were leaving school on Fridays to pray and were gone for about two hours. It’s actually a classroom that’s open to students when it’s not being used for instruction….