Public Schools and Accommodation to Muslim Students

November 27, 2002

Source: Education Week

On November 27, 2002 Education Week reported that "when school administrators acknowledge students' needs and accommodate them, it makes it easier to practice a religion that many other Americans find unfamiliar, students say. Muslim activists agree that U.S. school systems' awareness and understanding of the religion are growing. This year, the news media are paying heightened attention to the start of Ramadan, largely because public interest in Islam jumped after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and because the United States faces the prospect of war with Iraq, a Muslim country. 'The fact that Muslims are here in large numbers requires a learning curve for American institutions,' said Ihsan Bagby, a University of Kentucky professor of Islamic studies who conducts research on Islam in America. 'I think the schools are more open to understanding other cultures. That is, after all, one of the purposes of education. Therefore,' he said, schools 'have been fairly quick to find accommodation.'"