TiZA families file motion in legal fight over religion at school

Several families at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) want to intervene with a lawsuit involving the Inver Grove Heights school and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

As reported by the Pioneer Press the students, who attend Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, say their democratic and legal rights will be violated if the school cannot offer religious accommodations, such as pork-alternative food, prayer time, a dress code and no school on Islamic holidays.

The ACLU argued that the TiZA school is crossing the lines between public education and religion by allowing accommodations for the religious practices of the Muslim students.

The Star Tribune reported that In court documents, parents said they send their children to the school for a quality education, not religion, but still want their families' religious needs to be met. The school is a "safe, non-sectarian, cultural learning environment for immigrant families" and should not be closed, they said.

Court documents for the motion stated: "Basically, TiZA is being sued for the Muslim-ness of its students. The MnACLU would not have a problem with TiZA if there weren't Muslim students at TiZA because then there would not be these accommodations."

Several said they were unhappy because, in response to a state investigation, the school has reduced the time set aside on Fridays for Muslim students to pray, from 30 minutes to 10 minutes as reported by the Star Tribune.

"The ACLU lawsuit threatens more reductions," said Javed Mohammad, who has two sons at TiZA, in a court document.

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