St. Paul, Minn. — A few Somali parents in Willmar complained that the public schools weren’t allowing their Muslim children to step out of class for daily prayer. Some didn’t send their children to school last week in protest.
Today, school officials said they won’t change their policy, which allows students to pray during lunch time and between classes. For now, families have reluctantly agreed to send their children to school, but the issue may resurface later in the school year.
This is the first school year Somali parents have had an issue with Willmar public schools over when their children can pray. A few children informed their parents that they weren’t allowed to step out of class to pray for five minutes…
The daily prayer schedule is calculated based on the number of daylight hours. Chris Schumacher is the Executive Director of the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The civil rights organization serves the Muslim community on issues dealing with religious discrimination.
Schumacher says in Minnesota prayer schedules can vary widely, because the daylight hours during winter are so few compared to summer. (MORE)