GREEN BAY - For those who follow the Islamic faith, prayer, and when it's done, is extremely important.
"We have five obligatory prayers a day," said Mohamed Zakarya. "There are certain guidelines and rules for why we pray on time. It's not like we like to do it, it's an obligation."
Zakarya is a Muslim and a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. To be true to his religion, he says once a day for a few minutes during class, he must leave to pray. And that's something Muslim students in Green Bay public schools do as well.
"(It) takes maybe three to five to 10 minutes, not very long at all. They can get up from class, they don't disrupt the class, do their prayer, go back to class," said Barb Dorff, executive director of student services for Green Bay schools.
Dorff says Green Bay schools, under federal law, cannot deny the right to prayer to any student. For Muslims, that means the schools allow the students to leave and go into a private room to pray.
FOX 11 received nearly 200 comments on its Facebook page from viewers about the topic.
Paige said she thinks they should be allowed to pray and Christians are not required by their religion to prey certain times of days.
Kimberly said she has no problem with it, as long as all religions in the school are allowed the same privileges.
On the other side, Kurt said they should be doing it on their own time, not the other students' or teachers'.
Danielle said, "But yet most schools don't allow kids to say the (Pledge of Allegiance). Contradicting if you ask me"
"You might have to say, hey, those of you of the Christian faith, if you choose to observe during this time, the same thing, you can do the same thing. Some kind of equity needs to be there," said Rev. Jon Westlund.
Westlund says some people may be angry with the accommodations schools are making to Muslims if adherents of other religions aren't getting similar rights.
"If you're going to offer this privilege to them, is there a reciprocal thing that this other faith can have?" said Westlund.
Dorff says Green Bay schools have made accommodations for other religions.
"Some students have had to be excused to go to religious classes. That might occur at the end of the day. There's different religious holidays," said Dorff.
Dorff says the schools will continue to follow federal law and accommodate the religious requirements of students.
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