I looked up from my laptop to see Mrs. Hobart, the school director, standing in the doorway to my classroom.
“Yes” I said.
“Here’s this semester’s prayer. Look it over and get back to me if you have any questions.”
I took the sheet of paper that she was handing me.
“Before you go, there are a couple of things you might be able to clarify.” I said. “What’s our policy for those children who don’t want to participate?”
“It’s the same as before” she said. “Those children who want to abstain should silently reflect on whatever they choose while the prayer is being recited.”
“Well” I said, “I don’t expect all of the students to sit quietly through this. Last quarter both Eli and Abdullah objected quite vocally.”
“Just have your teaching assistant take them out into the hallway during the prayer. There is no reason for them to be uncooperative. Besides, I don’t think you’ll have any problems with Abdulla.”
“He’s leaving?” I asked.
“No, not at all. Look, I’ve got to deliver the rest of these prayers. Save your questions for this afternoon’s meeting. We’ll be distributing your clocks and rugs then.” And with that she was gone.
I looked down at the prayer and read through it.
In the name of Allah (God), The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord (Who is the Creator, Sustainer and Guide) of all the worlds.
The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful; Sovereign of the Day of Judgment.
Thee (alone) do we worship, And from thee (alone) we seek help.
Show us the straight Path, The Path of those (who fear Allah) and on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings.
Not of those (committing wrongs deliberately) On whom Thou art angry, nor of those who (Having wrong opinions) go astray. Ameen
Well, I thought, Abdullah might be happy. But Eli’s going to have a fit. Not to mention the Christian kids. But they shouldn’t complain. After all, every day last semester we said the “Our Father”.