Written by Don Byrd
Via Religion Clause, a California court has rejected efforts to halt a an anti-Muslim bullying and Islamophobia program in San Diego schools. Plaintiffs argued the initiative improperly favors one religion by being of benefit to those who are Muslim, but the judge disagreed and declined to issue an injunction, finding they were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their religious liberty claims.
Here is an excerpt from the opinion:
Plaintiffs’ zero-sum view of who “benefits” from the District’s efforts to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying is not persuasive. The Initiative aims to address the behavior and conduct of “Islamophobia” and “antiMuslim bullying.” There is nothing inherent in addressing such behavior and conduct that limits any benefit to solely those who are Muslim. The evil that measures like the Initiative seek to address can harm more than those who are directly targeted.
In this case, the District has sought to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim by updating certain instructional materials and resources regarding Islam and Muslim culture for all staff and students. As CAIR persuasively asserts, any benefit from these measures “accrues to all of the students at the School District by learning about the world,” including “about the culture of a growing” segment of the Nation.
The case will continue; only the injunction has been denied, but the judge’s ruling indicates an evaluation that the plaintiffs are not likely to succeed. And the judge is surely right on this point: we all benefit when religious bullying and mistreatment directed at a religious minority is thoughtfully addressed. And we all collectively suffer when adherents of any faith are allowed to be marginalized.
For more, see the San Diego Tribune’s coverage of this story.