Religious instruction is prohibited in America’s taxpayer-supported public schools because of a strict separation between church and state mandated by the U.S. Constitution. But public schools do try to accommodate the religious traditions of students — for example, by allowing them to miss class for religious holidays. Now, increasing numbers of schools are facing a new challenge: they’re being asked to let some Muslim students out early every Friday throughout the entire year. That’s when Muslims come together for the most important service of the week, Juma’ah.
© Voice of America 2004.