Editor’s Scratchpad

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Muslim prayer
OK in schools

That new moon arising signals the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Even modern Muslims skip astrological technology and begin their months based on when new moons can actually be seen.

The ninth month heralds Ramadan, the holiest of Islamic months. Devout Muslims are supposed to fast during daylight hours -- no food, drink, smoking or sexual relations allowed. Self-purification, through physical, spiritual and moral discipline, is the goal.

Muslim children, however, are eased into the strictures of Ramadan, and don't fast completely until they're 12.

In New York City, where Islamic terrorists struck in the Sept. 11 assault, the Board of Education allows Muslim students special prayer privileges during Ramadan. Kids can turn school auditoriums into temporary mosques -- even though the U.S. Supreme Court banned officially sanctioned prayer in public schools -- and are allowed to be late to class after prayers.

Just imagine students trying to hold a Christian or Jewish prayer meeting in a Taliban school in Afghanistan. The school administration would -- ahem! -- frown on that.

--Burl Burlingame

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