November 28th: Watch a TV report on the controversy, here.
November 22nd: For more background on the Somali migration to Lewiston and the role of Catholic Charities, go here.
Here we go! Lewiston, the city that has struggled for years ever since federal government contractors, such as Catholic Charities, chose it as a site for refugee resettlement [correction: I am alerted by a reader that Catholic Charities didn’t choose Lewiston, see comments] and after a secondary migration of mostly Somali refugees picked this city in “welcoming” Maine, the joys of multiculturalism have come home to roost. And, darn, just when town fathers thought citizens were finally getting the memo that diversity is strength something like this happens.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) the subject of an important new book entitled, “Muslim Mafia:Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” has the audacity to threaten to bring action against a school district that supposedly denied a Muslim girl the right to pray during school. Here is the story from the Sun Journal today. Hat tip: Mars
LEWISTON — A national Muslim civil rights organization has filed a formal request with the Lewiston School Department to allow a middle school student to pray on school property. The group also wants Lewiston to modify existing policy and provide “constitutionally protected religious accommodation,” such as a designated prayer room.
The group has also requested the school department institute diversity training for school staff, and to ensure the middle-schooler won’t face retaliation because of her request to pray at the Lewiston Middle School.
According to the Washington, D.C.,-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, seventh-grader Nasra Aden had been routinely “praying discreetly during her free time or lunch break in a corner of a school hallway.” But, on Tuesday, CAIR asserts a teacher told Aden “never to pray on school property” after Aden was seen preparing to kneel in prayer in a corner of one of the hallways.
After Aden told her mother, Jamad Warsame, what happened, Warsame spoke with school Principal Maureen Lachappelle and asked the school to accommodate her daughter’s desire to pray. According to CAIR, Warsame’s request was rebuffed and she has been “forced to pick up her daughter every day and take her to a nearby park to pray.”
Lachappelle said Aden is not being forced to leave school to pray, but that the district accommodated her mother’s request for her to leave the campus this past week for prayer.
Lewiston Superintendent Leon Levesque, who learned of CAIR’s written accusations hours after a press release had already been published on various Web sites, said, “Students are free to pray quietly during class if they choose as long as it’s not disruptive,” because “prayer is constitutionally protected in schools.”
“A stunning scenario of lack of multicultural competency” —they have learned the lingo!
In a written statement, Ismail Warsame called school officials’ alleged actions in responding to Aden’s effort to pray “a stunning scenario of lack of multicultural competency” and “clear violation of our constitutional rights to free religious expression.”
Warsame also accused Lachappelle of hanging up on him as he was asking whether the school department would accommodate the family’s request to accommodate the specific religious needs of certain students. Lachappelle acknowledged she did end a phone conversation with Warsame abruptly because “he wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
According to Lachappelle, after an involved conversation about the school’s position on allowing silent prayer, she said she told Warsame that “this is what the ruling is. We’re disagreeing, and I’m following district policy. I feel we need to end this conversation.”
Readers should know that we have had reports from many cities about the fact that some Muslim men do not respect female school teachers and administrators, so that may explain what happened in this phone conversation.
Ibraham Hooper threatens: Do what we say, or else!
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said Friday that if the Lewiston School Department did not address its four requests to allow prayer, modify school policy, institute training and protect Aden from retaliation, “we wouldn’t really have much choice but to take the case further” because “the student has the legal right and the constitutional right to pray in school in a manner that is not disruptive to the learning environment.”
I wonder what Lewiston Mayor, Larry Gilbert, thinks now? This sort of coincidence has happened before. I had something to post earlier in the week about the Mayor of Lewiston and didn’t get to it, and then sure enough something like this story comes along and the two pieces fit nicely together.
On the Mayor’s website just a couple of days ago appeared a report of a meeting where the City Council had a briefing about refugees and the resettlement programs in Maine. It is there that we learned this:
Catholic Charities Maine (CCME) has been the only refugee resettlement agency in Maine during the past 30 years.
Read the glowing account of how great the refugee resettlement program is and then note this conclusion by the mayor.
I hope that sharing this information will assist in allaying the many misconceptions and fears that somehow permeate our community.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, it is only through communication with those who may appear to be different from us, that when we engage in conversation, we find that we have far more similarities than differences. Our skin color may be different, our language may be different and our customs may be different. What we do find is that we seek the same things, quality of life, family life, employment, religion, education, music, arts, etc. We find that we truly are one-humanity. Assimilation may take a bit of time, but it will happen just like it has with all of our forefathers who have made us this richest country in the world, a country of immigrants.
If we truly believe that we are all God’s children, then we must therefore believe that we are all brothers and sisters created in His image.
Tell that to the Islamic supremacists at CAIR!
We have covered Lewiston Somali problems extensively, use our search function and you will see what I mean!
For new readers:
The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing. That specific program has not yet been reopened, but will be soon. Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.