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Journey2Islam@gmail.com


Yes! That's right! We have a new mail address. If anyone would like to ask questions or would like us to give them information on Islam, please write to us using this (journey2islam@gmail.com) account and not our hotmail account!

Journey2Islam Updates:

1) We are planning to create our very own Journey2Islam forum

2) We have mailed few non-Muslims and so far things seem to be going well Alhamdulillah (All praises and thanks be to Allah (God)!

3) We are starting a tutoring course sort of a thing for kids Insh'Allah (God Willing), our tutoring is a mixture of Islamic education as well as helping the kids with their school homeworks, assignments...etc so we are looking forward to this Insh'Allah (God Willing). Oh! It's FREE, Yup! We won't be getting a cent from it, it's for feesabilillah (For the sake of Allah (SWT)!

Well, that's all the updates for now. We will be posting up details on these next time Insh'Allah (God Willing)

How to get religious accommodation in the public school system:

Does your child need a prayer room to perform Zuhr in during lunchtime? Does he need time off for Juma and you want to do something about it but you just don't know where to start? Well it's your lucky day, here is a five-step guide on how to get your kids religious accommodations in their public schools! But first we would like to tell the parents that it's better to home-school your kids rather than taking them to public schools because 1) you don't know what your kids will be learning at these public schools and 2) chances are, they will mix with bad company and you might end up losing them (we will be posting an article discussing this matter some other time Insh'Allah).

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Whatever Islamic obligation you want accommodated at your child's school, it must be done in a methodical, clear and proper manner. Shabbir Mansuri is founding director of the Council on Islamic Education in Fountain Valley, California. He provides tips and advice on how to get religious accommodation for your child.

Step #1: know the laws about religious freedom

Knowing what laws and regulations govern the issue of religious accommodation is crucial before attempting to reach the right authorities. It is also important to understand what is defined as a "reasonable limit" on religious freedom. Get the help of officials if necessary to properly understand these laws.

Step #2: get the support of a teacher

"[The first thing I would do is] arm myself with that piece of information and then set up a meeting with the principal of the school along with one of my favorite teachers at the school who will be very supportive, requesting that my son or daughter should be either permitted to [for example] go out to perform Juma prayer at a local Masjid and/or be allowed to perform Juma prayer along with other Muslim students on the school campus," says Mansuri. Getting the support of a teacher is crucial. It indicates to the principal that the religious accommodation you are seeking will not interfere with your child's performance as a student. Mansuri says that in most cases, these two steps are all that are needed to getreligious accommodation from your child's school. However, if the principal refuses to grant the accommodation, step three will be necessary.

Step #3: leave a paper trail, but first, be really nice

"If you find the meeting is not going anywhere then leave a paper trail, meaning, write letters. But before I do that, I would try to do it in a very non-confrontational way by simply sitting down with the principal and a teacher," says Mansuri. "Try to understand this process where I want to make sure this is not us versus them, but simply the notion of my exercising my constitutional rights in the most respected [way] with compassionate manners, leaving my ‘baseball bat'," he explains, referring to an approach that is harsh and confrontational. Mansuri even suggests inviting the teacher and principal over for dinner as a gesture of goodwill.

Step #4: writing to the supportive teacher

"My first letter would be to my kid's favorite teacher to ask the person's advice," advises Mansuri. "The letter will be to request to meet with teacher, and it will indicate I want to discuss with you my child's religious needs and I would like to share with you what our president has instructed the teachers and schools to accommodate them." (See a sample letter to the teacher)

Following the meeting, a thank you letter to the teacher should be sent. It will also indicate you would like to set up second meeting with the school's principal, and ask the teacher if s/he would be kind enough to go with you to discuss the topics the two of you talked about in your first meeting (see a sample thank you letter to the teacher).

"This will leave two or three letters," notes Mansuri, but in each letter "the tone of my letter should be my bringing the information as politely as I can. (I am trying to) maintain my rights for the schools to accommodate my child's religious needs. So it's a non-threatening letter."

Step #5: meeting a second time with the principal

Before attending this second meeting with the principal and teacher, "I would also arm myself with the district's education code along with the state educational code as it relates to the topics that I'm going to discuss," says Mansuri. This can be done by simply calling your district and the state office and asking them to give you the specific educational code that relates to the religious obligation you are seeking accommodation for. That office would fax you the information the same or next day. Once again, Mansuri stresses that the approach in discussing the matter a second time with the principal should not be confrontational.

"While meeting with the teacher and/or principal, I'm not trying to win an argument by telling them how much I know but rather giving them a very clear understanding that while I understand my rights as a parent, I'm simply there to help them accommodate my child's needs that they are supposed to do anyway," explains Mansuri.

"Make it a win-win situation, not an us versus them situation, and that in itself is the message of Islam."By this step, Mansuri says your child should have his/her need(s) accommodated.