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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Muslim parents win right to reject LGBT books for their children

Muslim children won't be required to read LGBT books in elementary schools in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, reports Mairead Elordi in the Daily Wire.


Six Somali Muslim parents had threatened to sue the district, saying that exposure to gay and transgender characters in picture books had caused their children "confusion and distress." 


This fall, in an attempt to be more inclusive, St. Louis Park elementary schools introduced LGBT-themed books, including Our Subway Baby, about two men who adopt a baby, My Shadow Is Pink, about a boy who wears dresses, and Ho’onani: Hula Warrior, about a non-binary Hawaiian girl who wants to lead a boys hula team.


At an October school board meeting, three Somali Muslim women argued that they "respect the importance of affirming LGBTQ identities," but were "troubled" that the books urge "every child to delve into their own understanding of sexuality and gender identity."


Minnesota requires school districts to let parents review instructional materials, Elordi writes. If a parent objects, the district must “make reasonable arrangements . . . for alternative instruction.”


In a statement, St. Louis Park officials said the district would abide by the law, but added that parents can't opt their children out of classroom discussions because they “do not constitute instructional materials.”


“We think this is a win for religious freedom for people of all faiths," said Kayla Toney, an attorney with First Liberty Institute, which represented the families.


Under state law, all parents should be able to review instructional materials and request alternatives for their children, not just those with objections based on their religious faith. I suspect the Muslim immigrants aren't the only parents who'd prefer boys with a purple crayon over boys with a pink tutu.

7 Comments


rob
Feb 19

Well, OK then. As long as they're Muslims and not those grubby Christians....

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linda.g.oc
Feb 19

When I lived in the Twin Cities, around 2000, at least some of the schools with lots of Muslim (Somalis, mostly) kids accommodated them with separate-sex gym classes, prayer rooms, footbaths and separate rooms for kids fasting during the day. Student-led Christian prayers/meetings were not allowed indoor space; hence “meet at the flagpole”.


I personally observed a large prayer room at a Hennepin CC site, with only Muslim signage/literature and with separate male/female areas. I observed a student (looked white-bread Minnesota) turned away at the door, even though it was not a usual time for Muslim prayers and there were only a few students inside; even though he said he wanted to pray for an ill relative.


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79thirdparty
Feb 18

Does this a comparison only apply to Muslim children? Or do Christian or Buddhist children must litigate for the same accommodation? And why do they have to participate in classroom discussion? More litigation?

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Joanne Jacobs
Joanne Jacobs
Feb 19
Replying to

These are parents who want to opt out their own children. But other parents can use the opt-out provision too, regardless of their reasons for wanting to shield their children from certain books and instructional materials. It's a state law that the district wasn't following.

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