Political pandering at DOJ? Case of Muslim math teacher puts spotlight on government lawyer

Following outrage over a Department of Justice decision to sue a local school district for denying a Muslim math teacher 19 days off to go on the Hajj (or religious pilgrimage to Mecca), critics are pointing to a statement the lead attorney on the case made as proof of political motivation.

Assistant attorney general for Civil Rights Thomas Perez said the division was pursuing the case in order to address “a real head wind of intolerance against Muslim communities,” and protect “the religious liberty that our forefathers came to this country for.”

The district has denied any such bigotry, explaining that its refusal to accommodate her request was purely due to the extended time period and the fact that the time she requested would have resulted in undue hardship for her students.

“The school district just wanted a teacher in the room for those three weeks,” said the town’s former mayor Michael A. Esposito. “They didn’t care if she was a Martian, a Muslim, or a Catholic.”

Todd Gaziano, U.S. Civil Rights Commission member told The Daily Caller that Perez’s statement about the district having an anti-Muslim bias was “troubling.”

“The suit can only serve that purpose if the school board’s action was motivated by intolerance against Muslims, but DOJ has provided no evidence of that,” Gaziano said. “To publicly defame school board officials as religious bigots without any evidence is a serious abuse and leads credence to the allegation that DOJ’s suit was brought merely to pander to a particular political constituency.”

Hans von Spakovsky, former counsel to the assistant attorney general for Civil Rights, told TheDC that such comments have been common for lead attorney Perez.

“This is typical of the way Perez operates which is to make these kind of unsubstantiated extreme statements which is essentially engaging in religious demagoguery,” Spakovsky said. “It is just the way they operate and is just extremely unfair to this school district.”

Even without Perez’s comments about potential bigotry within the district, the Justice Department is receiving sustained criticism is for its decision to pursue the case, which has no precedent.

“[H]ere is a case where the DOJ is seeking a religious accommodation (three weeks) that has never been sought before. No court has ever allowed a 19 day leave for a religious accommodation,” former Civil Rights attorney J. Christian Adams told TheDC. “What about the ‘facts and law’ in this case? Everyone knows the answer — it’s pure politics. Holder pushes the boundaries of the law to protect a favored political constituency, Muslims, while placing a thumb on the scale of justice in the other direction to justify the dismissal of a case against black panthers that abandons law abiding white victims. It is rank biased rot.”

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  • truebearing

    How long before the majority of people stop denying the Muslim bias of Obama and Holder?

  • HoosYoDaddy

    What?!#%!? Political pandering on top of racism and failure to equitably enforce the laws and Constitution..AT THE DEPARTMENT OF “Justice”??? No way!!!

    Alert the…ah…um…President..or MSM..or D.O.J…on second thought, maybe not.

  • toofst4luv

    It baffles me that this is even an issue. What if this was a Jewish person and was going through some turmoil in their life and felt a need to go stuff a note into or visit the Wailing Wall? Could they get a week off for this purpose, at that time of the year? It certainly does represent a religious reason. Based on the reactions of this hypocritical DOJ, I think it would certainly be a non-issue.

    Say what you will, but religious discrimination doesn’t exist under the law unless “the law” has some other agenda.


    • ladylove

      because this is not about the teacher, nor the time she asked for,

      this is about setting a precident, and nothing more, if they can get this past the American public, who knows what will be next.

  • Pingback: Dept. of Justice is Racially Motivated!? | DRScoundrels

  • Sproing

    Having had a one point in my life an up close and personal look at a Hajj in process I’d like to offer a couple of thoughts.

    First, there is a Hajj every year but a Muslim is NOT required to attend every year. They are required to attend at least once in their lifetime and that’s all. Any person who wants to go on a Hajj has the option of taking it on any year that would be most accommodating to their chosen profession.

    Secondly, it doesn’t take 19 days to fly to Saudi Arabia to attend a one day event and fly back to the United States. Keep in mind that this teacher was the center of her students educational universe and she was requesting what amounted to a three week leave right during the end of semester testing and grading period. This is a job that should not be left to a substitute teacher who in most cases is a short term glorified babysitter.

    I think she would have been on much more defensible grounds had she requested 4-5 days leave which would have been sufficient to carry out her Hajj with only a minimal disruption of her duties to her students.

    • BigRmv

      …and think about it. If you or I were planning a 19 day vacation, wouldn’t we do it well in advance? Wouldn’t you ask the bosses at the beginning of the year (August-September) to accomodate you; to let them make other plans for that time?

      It doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

  • cfarer

    The separation of church and state only applies to Christians. Didn’t you know? If you are hindu, or muslime, or rastafarian the Oblahblah justice department will bend over backwards to accomodate your religious beliefs.

  • Drahcir

    I wonder how many other are requesting to
    “go on the Hajj (or religious pilgrimage to Mecca)”, will there be a mass exodus? Can we shut the “door” behind them? Just wondering?

  • Realist4U

    I believe this whole regime needs to be charged with treason.

  • BPinTexas

    Those slimy Dems love to use the phrase “separation of church & state” until combining the two becomes a useful tool. 2012, where are you??