Liberty High School in Frisco, TX has a prayer room and has had that same prayer room since 2009. The room is available, according to school district officials, to “students of all walks of life” meaning it’s not just available to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or others but is available to ALL students of ANY faith OR no faith.
Since 2009 the prayer room has really not been an issue but now along comes Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton and it appears he’s wanting to stir the pot! Paxton is “concerned” that the prayer room may not be available to students of other faiths and in a letter issued Friday by Paxton to school officials he said any exclusion would be inconsistent with the 1st Amendment’s protection of religious freedom. Question is he doesn’t identify just who is being excluded! Christians? Muslims? Jews? Buddhists? Wiccans? Who?
Thus far it appears that students of NONE of these faiths has been excluded from using the prayer room so why is Paxton attempting to create controversy where there is NO controversy?
The Pastor of a large Baptist Church in Dallas said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” this morning that he has no problem with the room as long as students of various faiths have equal access to the prayer room. Democratic political consultant Mustafa Tameez, a Muslim America, said on the same program that Paxton is simply attempting to create controversy where one doesn’t exist. He pointed out that in airports there are prayer rooms so the High School prayer room is not only for Muslim students but is for anyone of any faith.
So just how many Muslims live in Frisco, TX and who is Paxton?
Frisco is located in northeastern Texas and is part of the Dallas-Ft Worth area. The 2010 Census indicates it has a population of about 117 thousand people and in 2009 it was the fastest growing city in America. Frisco is a suburban community for many professionals who work in Dallas-Ft Worth. In fact, it is one of the most sought after upscale communities in North Texas. In 2014 Frisco was rated as the second fastest growing city in the USA. And in February 2017 the population was estimated to be somewhere near 161 thousand people.
Over half of the people living in Frisco identify themselves as being religious. The largest Christian population is Catholic (15%) while 1/4 of a percent are Jewish and 3% are Muslims. So the Muslim population is very small in Frisco. And it appears that the prayer room is often used by Muslims students so I assume Paxton’s concern is over the room not being available enough to Christian and other students.
As for Texas AG Ken Paxton he’s a Republican who has served at the Texas AG since 2015. The Dallas Morning News says Paxton’s letter is a publicity stunt! The district superintendent says the school takes measures to ensure that the prayer room is open to all students of all faiths and not just one.
So do we have a problem here with Muslim students using the prayer room to much? Or do we have a non-issue here with the Texas AG trying to stir the pot? Or, thirdly, do we have nothing here at all? We’ll see as this story develops.