The Dieringer School District in Seattle has come under fire recently for what’s seen as a blatant disregard of First Amendment rights. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) claims that Muslim students are receiving preferential treatment when it comes to testing and religious acknowledgment. Superintendent Judy Martinson even went so far as to take the recommendations of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — also known as CAIR — and enact them as district policy, forwarding an email to district officials with guidelines that effectively endorse Islam. Is it any wonder that parents are in an uproar?
Observing holidays is not the issue at hand, after all, schools do observe Christmas, Good Friday and Easter (even though we aren’t allowed to have Christmas parties or “Easter Break” anymore). The real matter — and reason for concern — involves actively promoting Islamic culture by doling out blessings in Arabic and monitoring a student’s fasting habits. Like teachers don’t have enough to do when it comes to educating students, now they’re expected to acknowledge religious beliefs and practices? Add in the fact that CAIR wants teachers to adjust testing schedules for holidays Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr, treating them with the same importance as Christmas, when there’s clearly no basis for doing so.
In addition, it’s widely rumored that CAIR has ties to radical Islamists and pushes anti-semitic beliefs. Sure, the First Amendment guarantees rights to religious freedom, but at what expense and why does this equate to preferential treatment?