That's the sound of Islamists chipping away at the secular foundations of our pluralistic, multi-faith society. (Rhino Tools stone chisel at left.) As Dr. Zhudi Jasser notes in the article, Accommodation as an Islamist Political Instrument, every week we read about demands for special treatment by “conservative” Muslims, who want organized prayer time for Muslim students in public schools and factories, or separate gym space for Muslim women in health clubs. Jasser writes why it's wrong for Muslims to demand special treatment and why it's wrong to give in to these demands. Some excerpts (see original article for many links):
"This behavior and Islamist commentary which exploits personal practices of the Muslim faith in order to make public statements and impose the mandates of one’s personal faith upon general society is classical behavior for Islamists. We saw it with the flying imams and now we see it with demands for the accommodation of an entire school time schedule for Muslim prayer obligations."
"Just as we saw with the flying imams and their ill-advised trumped up Islamist lawsuit against US Airways and the reporting John Does, this also is not about prayer. Many of us Muslims grew up in pubic schools for decades and performed our five daily prayers at their prescribed times and never asked for special treatment or accommodation not afforded to every other individual in our schools regardless of faith."
"....Islamist organizations, like CAIR who never met a demand from rigid Muslims they didn’t like, will continue to demand ‘logistical requirements of faith’ all the while intimidating non-Muslims into allowing them to control public spaces and times. Whether cabbies in Minnesota, children at San Diego schools, or women at Michigan fitness clubs, the Islamist agenda is transparent. It’s all about accommodation with no sense of moderation. Necessary for the validity of these demands of accommodation is a deeply rigid uncompromising interpretation of Islam—salafism and Wahhabism. Flexibility and moderation would make these demands generally disappear."
"We should understand that these are not the first Muslims ever in America to try and complete their prayers, fasting, holidays and other spiritual requirements in a secular school system. Some of us have done it for years with never a demand for accommodation but only a request for personal space and occasional ‘make-up’ of missed class time."
If you want your children to observe prayer time faithfully at changing times every day, do like the Catholics and Jews did before you: take your kids out of public schools and enroll them in religious schools. Build your own religious schools (no Saudi $$$ and curriculum, please). You want a women-only gym? Fine, then join a Curves Club or start your own women-only health club. Stop thinking that Gold's Gym or Fitness USA should observe your notion of segregating the sexes.
Jasser has a great concluding paragraph:
"There is no greater laboratory of religious liberty and freedom than in the United States. Most of our parents escaped our motherlands in order to practice our personal spirituality more freely here than in so-called Muslim lands. They did not come to exploit and impose. American freedoms and openness to accommodate will be exploited by Islamists seeking a Muslim body politic. This will all continue as long as other non-Islamist and anti-Islamist Muslims stay silent to the exploitation of Islam for the Islamist political agenda."
Love that guy. How come he wasn't appointed to the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom? It's just as well, I suppose. He's needed more in the U.S.
UPDATE: A San Diego elementary school squashes in-class Muslim prayer time and single gender classes. About time, damn straight.