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Saman Sekolah kerana halang tunai haji

WASHINGTON: Kerajaan persekutuan menyaman sebuah sekolah luar bandar di Chicago Isnin lalu kerana menolak cuti tanpa gaji seorang guru sekolah menengah Muslim untuk mengerjakan haji ke Makkah.

Dalam satu kes hak asasi manusia, jabatan itu berkata sekolah daerah di Berkeley, Illinois itu menolak permintaan Safoorah Khan atas alasan permohonan cutinya tidak berkaitan dengan tugas profesionalnya dan tidak dilakukan mengikut kontrak antara sekolah daerah itu dan kesatuan guru.

Justeru, sekolah daerah itu melanggar Akta Hak Asasi 1964 dengan gagal memenuhi tanggungjawab agama guru berkenaan, kata kerajaan.

Safoorah ingin mengerjakan haji ke Makkah, yang wajib dilaksanakan golongan dewasa Islam yang berkemampuan sekali seumur hidup. Jutaan umat Islam mengerjakan haji setiap tahun ke Makkah.

Safoorah mula bekerja pada 2007 sebagai guru sekolah menengah di Sekolah Daerah Berkeley 87, di barat Chicago. Pada 2008, beliau meminta hampir tiga minggu cuti tanpa gaji untuk mengerjakan haji.

Selepas sekolah daerah itu menolak dua kali permohonannya, Safoorah menulis kepada lembaga pengarah bahawa: “Berdasarkan kepercayaan agama, saya tidak dapat mencari alasan munasabah bagi lewat mengerjakan haji dan meletakkan jawatan sejurus selepas itu, menurut satu tuntutan difailkan di mahkamah persekutuan di Chicago.”

Sekolah Daerah Berkeley memaksa Safoorah memilih antara kerjaya dan kepercayaan agamanya, katanya. – Agensi

14 Oct 2011 - www.huffingtonpost.com/chicago

A suburban Chicago school district sued by the U.S. Justice Department over their previous refusal to allow a Muslim teacher to take a pilgrimage to Mecca has entered into a consent decree resolving the matter.

According to an AP report, Berkeley School District 87 will pay $75,000 to former middle school teacher Safoorah Khan, covering lost back pay, compensatory damages and court costs. The decree needs to be approved by a federal court.

In 2008, Khan applied for an unpaid leave of absence of 15 days from the McArthur Middle School, where she taught, in order to go on a Hajj to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. When the district denied her request, she quit her job and filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Last December, the Justice Department filed a complaint on behalf of Khan accusing the school district of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in their denial of the teacher's request. The district, they alleged, failed to accommodate her religious practice.

The district countered that the "purpose of her leave was not related to her professional duties," according to the Justice Department.

The lawsuit has attracted national attention, causing conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to ask, in May, why Khan did not take the Hajj during her summer off from teaching.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, which I'm not. … Teachers have summers off. ... Muslims are urged to travel to Mecca at least once in their lives. Not during a specific time frame, like the end of the school marking period."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the Justice Department had taken "the wrong case."

Islamic scholars said, in response, that delaying her Hajj for a summer trip would have meant a wait of at least a decade, as the date of the annual pilgrimage is guided by the lunar year and changes annually. Further, Sayyid Syeed, who directs interfaith and community affairs for the Islamic Society of North America, explained to Religion News Service that asking a Muslim person to take their pilgrimage in the summer is akin to asking a Christian to celebrate Christmas in July.

"If she waits, and she gets sick and dies, how will she be able to explain why she did not do it?" Syeed said. "There is a compelling passion to go as soon as possible."
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