Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Islam in American Public Schools and the Struggle for an Islamic-American Identity As essential participants in all societies, it is important that every student understands that Islam, rather than being a single entity that stays the same across the ages, evolves as it comes into contact with various aspects like historical, cultural, class, and ethnic factors (Moore 279)…
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These include the assimilation degree of the Muslims into society, national identity, and religious and civil law inter-relation. One avenue for finding a balance between security and identity issues with diversity tolerance in the society. The United States’ ideal, contending “out of many, one”, has assured that Muslims can participate in the maintenance and improvement of America as a culturally pluralistic democracy (Moore 286). However, the question arises as to the effects of the war on terror on American assimilation of Islam, both in the education system and society. This paper will argue that there is wanting progress on assimilating Islam into the education system while the formation of an Islamic-American identity is a struggle. The Lack of Islam in American Public Schools Religious illiteracy among American teachers has made it likely that teachers in the system will harbor generalizations and prejudices concerning Islam, which hinder the attempts to accommodate Islam in the education system (Aown 1257). Such bodies have long identified the basic requirements that Muslims need to uphold their Islamic faith in public schools as the Council on Islamic Education. These bodies have also raised vital issues that need to be on Islam and State that have now become difficult for public schools resolve. However, some of the state sponsored schools have found it difficult to make some of the accommodations that have been identified. At the heart of this issue is the extent to which the requirements and needs of Islam can be represented in the education system. Another issue that has held accommodation back is the failure of the teachers to understand whether the First Amendment’s establishment clause, prohibits the American state from accommodating religious groups to exercise freely. The religious belief requirement in the First Amendment’s free exercise clause could cause friction with the establishment clause when the student wants to practice his/her beliefs in a public school (Aown 1258). The teaching fraternity must ensure that the requirement for belief not to be hindered must be in balance with sensitivity not to give overwhelming state support for specific beliefs (Aown 1259). Some Americans are of the belief that, as long as support by the state is not preferential, then it is all right, whereas others believe that state support is not acceptable. However, it is possible to make thoughtful and sensitive accommodations easily without raising any questions to do with the constitution. For example, it may be possible to allow Muslim students for them to wear modest clothes, or even allow them to skip some social activities without any violation of school policies. In addition, some schools allow Muslim students to be absent for some religious holidays, although this is not widespread. While this accommodation may be considered a reasonable accommodation, some teachers resist it, mostly because they do not understand Islam and the importance of these holidays. Accordingly, some local district and state schools have been criticized for refusing to assent to these holidays (Aown 1259). This can be improved by placing Islamic holidays together with holidays for other religions for teachers to plan on the school calendar. While some schools have began to implement excusal policies that let Muslim ...
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