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CHS should give Muslim students a prayer space

CHS+should+give+Muslim+students+a+prayer+space

In the religion of Islam, Muslims have to fulfill five daily prayers. For the majority of the year, the afternoon prayer of Dhuhr, falls during school hours. Currently at this school, some students are offered a prayer space if they are to reach out to administration, but these spaces are not adequate for Muslim students.

With CHS having a significant number of Muslim students at the school, without a designated prayer area, students are unable to complete their religious obligations. Despite conversations between the Carmel Muslim Student Alliance (MSA) and administration, no change has been administered. Some students who have reached out to administration had experiences where administration would give them an incredibly small space to pray. Students have described not having enough room to place their prayer rugs or perform their prayers properly, and have compared the amount of space given to them equal to a small broom closet. Moreover, multiple students have been given the same small space, some unable to pray at the same time, making them late to class or miss their prayer. 

The First Amendment of the Constitution protects a student’s right to religious expression in school. We understand that under certain Supreme Court rulings, schools are not allowed to impose religious beliefs on students, even if students are not required to participate. However, rulings have also determined schools may not prohibit students’ from practicing their religions as long as it does not cause a disruption. 

An Islamic prayer can usually take around five to 10 minutes. This is a very small increment of time compared to the rest of the school day. We urge administrators provide a prayer space for Muslim students to comfortably and properly be able to perform their prayers. Students will be able to pray their obligatory prayers during the passing period if a space were to be provided and then go to class. If students do end up being late, it should be no more than a few minutes and should be excused. This space would simply be used as a quiet prayer space for students to complete their religious beliefs.  

It is important to realize that these prayers are an obligation for Muslim students to complete their religious practices. As it is currently the month of Ramadan, a time where Muslims perform extra acts of worship, it is imperative that they be given these spaces.

Not allowing them to practice their religion goes against the First Amendment.

 

Administration was asked to comment, but did not respond. 

Chenyao Liu, Yichen Liu
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