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.