Is the “separation of church and state” being applied too literally? Because some U.K. parents may point out that mosque and state seems to be mixing all the time.
A case in point is 10-year-old schoolboy Luke Blagden, who was denied water on one of the year’s hottest days in deference to Muslim pupils fasting for Ramadan. Writes the Daily Mail:
Many pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School, Portsmouth, Hampshire, are fasting during Ramadan, which means they refrain from taking food or water between sunrise and sunset for around 30 days, depending on the moon....
[The boy’s mother, Kora Blagden, stated,] "Luke said to me he was told he wasn’t allowed to drink in class by his teacher.
The reason being, a child who is fasting had a headache and the teacher said it would be unfair if the other children drank in front of the pupil."...
"Luke was dehydrated when he got home and drunk three glasses of water straight away."
The teacher made the ruling on Thursday when temperatures soared to 28C.
Kora Blagden also said that while the students normally have their water bottles on their desks, on the day in question the teacher had confiscated them.
Yet while young Luke was forced to accept an Islamic norm in the name of tolerance, critics point out that the same principle is used to prevent Christian students from expressing their own faith in even the most innocuous ways. An example is six-year-old U.K. schoolboy Eddie Thompson, whose Estfeld Primary in Tickhill prohibited him from wearing a Christian ankle band, even though it was hidden beneath his sock. As the Daily Mail wrote in January:
[The boy’s father, Peter Thompson, said,] "He wears the band because he wants to feel that God is always with him.… No one has said a thing about it for all this time [six months] but when one of the teachers spotted it when Eddie had an itchy ankle and was scratching it she took it off him. When I complained about this to the school they were very blunt and said bands like this were banned. I think they’re discriminating against him because he’s a Christian. This is a symbol of his faith."
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