A Muslim parent said in a recent interview that he was upset school officials in Michigan gave his two kids fliers promoting an Easter egg hunt slated for April 12.
The flier was handed out to students at three elementary schools in the Dearborn Public Schools district and emblazoned with the headline “Eggstravaganza!” It advertised an egg hunt at a church and urged students to RSVP to secure a “free spot.”
— Inside Religion News (@goinreligion) April 5, 2014
According to the Detroit Free Press, the schools have a “substantial number of Muslim students.”
“It really bothered my two kids,” parent Majed Moughni, who is Muslim and has two young children, told the newspaper.
“My son was like, ‘Dad, I really don’t feel comfortable getting these fliers, telling me to go to church. I thought churches are not supposed to mix with schools,’” he added.
Moughni said that he thinks handing the flyers out may have crossed one of America’s founding principles.
“[U]sing school teachers paid by public funds … to pass out these fliers that are being distributed by a church. I think that’s a serious violation of church and state,” he said.
A spokesman for the school district did not respond to the Free Press’ requests for comment.
Nevertheless, the pastor of the church passing out the fliers and holding the event brushed aside criticism and dismissed the idea that his church is trying to convert Muslim students.
“It’s designed to be an opportunity to invite the community to come for a day of activity,” pastor Neeta Nichols told the Free Press. “There is not a religious component to this event.”
A lawyer, however, at Americans United for Separation of Church and State expressed concern.
“It would be one thing if this were an Easter egg hunt in an otherwise secular setting,” he said, noting the White House Easter egg hunt as an example. “But this invitation was for an Easter egg hunt at a Christian church — and so the event has much clearer religious connotations. Context matters.”
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