Muslim teacher sues school for religious discrimination
Summary from the Washington Post, March 22, 2011
A maths teacher from Illinois in the US, who was denied three weeks holiday for a pilgrimage to Mecca, is suing the school for violating her civil rights by forcing her to chose between her job and her faith.
Safoorah Khan, the only maths teacher at Berkeley’s MacArthur Middle School, resigned from her post in order to make the trip after the school refused her request. All Muslims are expected to make the trip to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
Thomas E. Perez, an assistant attorney general for civil rights said: “This was a profoundly personal request by a person of faith” who compared the case to “the religious liberty that our forefathers came to this country for.”
Justice Department lawyers have accused the school’s district decision of discriminating against Khan and have filed a lawsuit against them.
According to court documents, the school district said the leave request was unrelated to Khan’s job and not authorized by the teacher union contract.