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Tampa Muslims push for early school dismissal every Friday for prayers

Photo Credit: Bare Naked Islam

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A non-profit Islamic group in Florida is requesting that Muslim students be released early from public schools “every Friday” so children can attend mandatory prayer services, for under Islamic law, it is “sin” to miss the obligatory prayer sermon.

The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area published an official permission slip on its website for parents to “request early dismissal every Friday” for their children to “attend and perform the mandatory Friday Khutbah (sermon) and prayers starting at 12:30 pm until 3:00 pm.”

The permission slip cites Fla. statutes and Hillsborough Township public school policy related to excused absences for religious observation, but fails to recognize other statutes and policies that state 180 days of school and a certain amount of hours are mandatory for each child.
The full text of FL Statute 1006.53, the first statute the permission slip cites, but only in part, reads:

1006.53 Religious observances.—Each public postsecondary educational institution shall adopt a policy which reasonably accommodates the religious observance, practice, and belief of individual students in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work assignments. Each policy shall include a grievance procedure by which a student who believes that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational benefit due to his or her religious belief or practices may seek redress. Such policy shall be made known to faculty and students annually in inclusion in the institution’s handbook, manual, or other similar document regularly provided to faculty and students. [Emphasis added]

And while Hillsborough Township Public Schools allow absences for religious observations, its policy on attendance also states:

Prolonged or repeated absences, excused or unexcused, from school or from class, deprive the pupil of the classroom experience deemed essential to learning and may result in retention at grade level or loss of credit toward the high school diploma in accordance with policies of this Board.

It will be interesting to see how Tampa schools address such a request.

H/T: Bare Naked Islam


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