A public interest law firm is challenging a New Jersey school district for promoting Islam during the current Islamic month of Ramadan.
Memorial High School, located in West New York, New Jersey, is displaying Ramadan posters sponsored by the school district wishing students to “Have a blessed Ramadan.” The poster then offers the following blessing: “May Allah Continue to shower you love and wisdom.”
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) – which offers pro bono law services regarding freedom of conscience issues — subsequently sent a “cease and desist” letter to the school district.
Teachers, concerned about the school district’s promoting Islam as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, contacted the law firm.
The Establishment Clause prevents endorsing one religion over another or even the endorsement of religion over non-religion.
In addition to the posters, “The teachers are also frustrated that school administrators are allowing a group of Muslim students to go from classroom to classroom during school hours and interrupt teachers during the middle of lessons to indoctrinate students about Ramadan and Islamic beliefs,” stated the law firm, adding:
“The First Amendment prohibits public school districts from endorsing a particular religion. These Ramadan posters and Islamic student presentations are sending a clear message to non-Muslim students that they are outsiders in the school community while sending a message to Muslims that they are insiders, the exalted student group. West New York School District is blatantly violating the Constitution …
“A public school district would never hang posters praying for Jesus Christ to shower students with love and wisdom.”
The law firm was recently successful in forcing two school districts in Washington state to stop Ramadan activities recommended by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) The activities promoting Islam included creating special Islamic safe spaces, revising lesson plans and having teachers bless Muslim students in Arabic.