Texas Attorney General's Office Invents Controversy Over High School Muslim Prayers

Amna Salman and other Muslim students gather to pray inside a classroom at Liberty High in Frisco

The Texas Attorney General's office has raised questions about the legality of a Frisco high school providing a prayer room for Islamic students, but Frisco's superintendent says the attorney general's inquiry appears to be a politically motivated publicity stunt.

Chris Moore, Frisco ISD spokesman, said that the principal at Liberty decided about seven years ago to set aside a classroom for 30 minutes a day to allow students to pray.

We "recently became aware of Liberty High School's prayer room", Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie wrote to the schools superintendent - about two weeks after the room was profiled in the student newspaper.

"Liberty High School's policy should be neutral toward religion", the letter reads.

"Instead, it appears that the prayer room is "dedicated to the religious needs of some students" - namely, those who practice Islam", he wrote in the letter on 17 March to Liberty High School.

'Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation's enduring commitment to religious liberty'.

Leonie's letter referenced an article published by the school news outlet, Wingspan, which centered around the prayer room's use by Muslim students but also noted that the room is used by students of other faiths.

"I ask that you ensure that Liberty High School's prayer room is accessible to students of all religious denominations, consistent with the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty", said Leonie.

In response, Lyon expressed confusion after Paxton's acknowledgement that the school district is complying with state and federal laws and laws on freedom of religion.

The room is nearly exclusively used by Muslim students, Pete Hegseth said, asking Jeffress whether its existence can be taken as a double standard against Christians whose public displays of faith have been suppressed in recent years. There have been no complaints about the prayer room since it was first offered in 2009, the district says.

Frisco ISD Superintendent Jeremy Lyon quickly fired back with an open letter of his own.

Fox said when asked, the school district replied with a vague statement: "We are required as a district to provide students the opportunity to pray".

"It is important to note Frisco ISD is greatly concerned that this type of inflammatory rhetoric in the current climate may place the District, its students, staff, parents and community in danger of unnecessary disruption", Lyon wrote.

Every day at lunch, a handful of teenagers in Frisco, Texas, would pop into room C112, face a whiteboard and kneel for one of their five daily prayers.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has often criticized what he calls anti-Christian discrimination in Texas schools.

However, your letter to me begins by indicating it is written following an "initial inquiry" that "left several questions unresolved". "To Frisco ISD's knowledge, it has not received any inquiry from the OAG [Office of the Attorney General] on this issue". Paxton helped the nurse's aid sue the district, the principal, the superintendent and the school board, and they won the case.

The AG's office shared the letter with the media, which promptly shared it online. "But here on campus, there's a room dedicated to the religious needs of some students".



Other news