Muslim groups are blasting what they call a 'cheap publicity stunt,' after Ken Paxton wrote a letter to the Frisco ISD near Dallas expressing concern that the district was allowing Muslim students to use a vacant classroom as a 'prayer room' and is actively 'prohibiting other faiths' from using the room, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"It is unfortunate that our state's top law enforcement officer would engage in a cheap Islamphobic publicity student that could very well result in increased bullying of Muslim students and the creation of a hostile environment," the Council on American Islamic Relations of Texas said in a statement. "General Paxton's office appears to have made its ill-informed statements without first contacting school officials."
CAIR accused Paxton of 'exploiting growing Islamophobia in our state and nationwide.'The Frisco ISD said the 'press release is a publicity stunt by the OAG to politicize a non issue.' The district said they had not been contacted by Paxton's office before the statement was issued.
CAIR points out that Paxton over the Christmas holidays had no problem going to court to force an Austin area school district to replace a quote about Jesus that it has removed from a teacher's classroom door.
Frisco ISD officials say the student prayer is happening without the district's organization or support, and students and teachers of all faiths, not just Muslim students, are invited to use the room.
The courts have held that if government bodies are not involved in sanctioning or organizing religious activities on their property, and the activities are open to all faiths and not restricted to one, it does not violate the 'Establishment Clause' of the U.S. Constitution.