The Justice Department is suing on behalf of a math teacher who was not allowed to take off three weeks of vacation during the school year. The Muslim teacher wanted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Safoorah Khan had been teaching for only nine months when she made the request.
The trip would have happened in December just before her student’s final exams.
But the school in Berkely, Illinois refused.
Khan resigned and now the Justice Department is suing the school board.
The suit is rapidly becoming a battleground over how to accommodate religious freedom, cultural differences and Muslim assimilation.
“You know, I’m a Christian, I don’t believe there’s anything in my faith that says that I get three weeks off to observe Easter,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham
“She’s asking for unpaid leave that means they didn’t have to pay her for the three weeks that she was going to be out and she gave them three months for which to prepare,” argues CAIR- Chicago attorney Christina Abraham.
An earlier ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Council ruled in the teacher’s favor.
It found no evidence that her absence would impose “undue hardship” on the school, as law requires.