Some public schools and universities are granting Muslim requests for prayer times, prayer rooms and ritual foot baths, prompting a debate on whether Islam is being given preferential treatment over other religions.
The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer. An elementary school in San Diego created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray.
At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.
Critics see a double standard and an organized attempt to push public conformance with Islamic law.
"What (school officials) are doing … is to give Muslim students religious benefits that they do not give any other religion right now," says Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, an advocacy group for Christians.
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