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My American Dream

Nadine Said, Reporter

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Everyday I walk into school with the Hijab upon my head. This singles me out as a Muslim and I am proud of that. I am so grateful to be able to live in a society that mostly accepts me and the religion I practice. However, there is one thing that’s missing from my American dream; I want to be able to pray at school.

Specifically, what I’m asking for is a multi-faith prayer/meditation room. It has been granted to students before. According to Wingspan, Liberty High School has a classroom that is reserved for students to pray in during lunches. It has been available to students since 2009.

Muslim student from Liberty Hiba Siddiqi said, “Daily prayer is a pillar of our religion. It is commanded at specific times throughout the day. To remain in school all day and still faithfully follow the religious practice, students need a place to pray.”

Why don’t we have one? Our schools are diverse. According to Sperling’s Frisco religion statistics, the majority of Frisco’s population is Christian, about three percent of it practices Islam, two percent affiliate with eastern religions, and 0.3 percent identify as Jewish. Generally speaking, there is no set prayer time or place in Christianity. However, that should not undermine the needs of other religions and should not ignore Christians who would appreciate a place to pray.

 

According to the website Why Islam, “Prayer for a Muslim involves uniting mind, soul, and body in worship; so a Muslim carrying out these prayers will perform a whole series of set movements that go with the words of the prayer.” Muslim students cannot pray at a desk or in the cafeteria. They need to be far from distractions, noise, and food. No one can pass in front of them while they pray, or else they will have to restart.

Now if you think the hands of public schools are shackled by the law when it comes to religion, think again. According to ACLU, the law states, “Students have the right to pray individually or in groups or to discuss their religious views with their peers so long as they are not disruptive.”

By not providing a space sanctioned for prayer or meditation, students, like me, are inadvertently being stripped of their rights. We need a room sanctioned off for religious practices and or meditation.

Thinking of the crowded hallways and classrooms of our schools, the task of finding such a room seems impossible. Would anything have to be fitted in the already limited budget? At what times would students be allowed into that room? There are thousands of valid questions.

With the opening of Memorial next year, classrooms are expected to become less crowded and more space will be available; that space can be used to make a small prayer/meditation room. As for the budget, there will be no need for adjustments to be made; students will be expected to bring their own belongings. Similarly, the student schedule would not change; students would only be allowed to go on their own time. A room such as this will not be disruptive to class and will not violate any laws in the Constitution.

So why is it still not a thing here at heritage?

Why are we ignoring the fact that the American dream can be inclusive? It’s up to you to answer those questions.

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