The Justice Department, apparently lacking more pressing business, is suing a Chicago-area school district for refusing to grant a Muslim teacher three weeks of unpaid leave for a pilgrimage to Mecca. The DOJ claims that, in its refusal, the district violated the civil rights of Safoorah Khan.
Ms Khan resigned in 2008, shortly after her request was denied for the second time, saying that "…based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing hajj…" DoJ seeks back pay, compensatory damages and reinstatement for Ms. Khan.
These are the bare bones of the case, and this represents almost all the information readily available in the news accounts I’ve been able to find. What’s interesting here though, is not so much what we’re given, as what is left out of the story.
For instance, most accounts make only a passing mention of the fact that Ms Khan had taught at the school for less than a year before she began demanding 3 weeks off. Is it reasonable to be employed in a job, the requirements and benefits of which are clearly delineated in a contract, for only a few months before demanding special treatment? If taking the Hajj was such an essential part of Ms Khan’s existence, shouldn’t she have made that fact known before she was hired?
Also, none of the articles I’ve seen even consider the possibility that three weeks is far more than is required to make the Hajj. Two minutes’ worth of googling reveals plenty of Hajj package trips that take only 11 or 12 days. Even tacking a couple days of travel onto each end of the trip gets one home in less than three weeks.
And why the urgency? Ms Khan says she “…could not justify delaying…” Islam makes no requirement that the Hajj be accomplished before one attains a particular age, and even relieves one of the burden if one’s circumstances make attendance impossible. Furthermore, the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, which means its events rotate throughout the year. If Ms Khan had been content to wait a few years, she could have made her pilgrimage during the summer, or during an already-existing break in the academic year.
Just to sum things up: An employee with less than a year in her position asks for twice as many days off as she needs to accomplish a pilgrimage that she is under no obligation to accomplish in the near future, a pilgrimage that she could just as easily make at a time that presents no hardship for her employer. When the employer refuses to accommodate her request, the Justice Department sues on her behalf.
Call me a skeptic, but this case has all the indicators of the type of lawfair being waged by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups have made it a common practice to initiate lawsuits against anything or anyone they consider as insufficiently accommodating to Islam. CAIR was very closely involved in the case that became known as the “Flying Imams,” where Muslim men intentionally drew attention to themselves in an airport prior to a flight, and once they had boarded, made passengers uneasy by requesting unneeded seatbelt extensions, circulating through the cabin, and changing their seats. Anyone who expressed concern or reported the suspicious activity – as requested by Janet Napolitano’s new Department of Homeland Security Walmart advertisements – was threatened with lawsuits and accused of being bigoted and “Islamaphobic.”
Since that time, CAIR has been dealt a number of legal setbacks, losing its battle to have its name removed from the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial, and having Morris Days, its “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” exposed as a fraud. Although CAIR advertised him as an attorney and billed hundreds of Muslim clients for his services as if he were one, Days has never been to law school, and was never an attorney. In fact, whatever legal experience he claims comes from being an ex-convict.
CAIR’s legal problems, though ongoing, do not seem to be preventing them from pursuing their stated goal of using America’s legal system against her, in order to institute Islamic law. Quite the opposite, in fact. In just two years, they have progressed from a con artist representing himself as an attorney to having their water carried for them by the U.S. Department of Justice.