vah's Witnesses, the courts, in most cases, have found in favor of the individual, rather than the state. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, 103 for instance, the Supreme Court held that the impact of an accommodation of Amish religious practices on secular goals would be small. 104 Similarly, in Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana Employment Security Division, 105 the Court determined that the threat presented by Jehovah's Witnesses to the advancement of the state's interest in the secular goal of reduced unemployment was not substantial enough to preclude accommodation.
However, the courts' treatment of Islam has not been uniform and provides little guidance in determining with any certainty how Islam and Muslims will fare in asserting Muslims' civil rights. In the prison context, the courts have deferred, more often than not, to the discretion of prison administrators in deciding when a state interest is compelling enough to preclude accommodation of Islamic practices. This has led to an erratic, ad hoc application of justice with regard to religious liberty inside prison walls.
Possible resolutions to foreseeable conflicts between the state and the individual Muslim remain uncertain. Conflicts may arise in a number of areas: for example, observance of the Sabbath, religious holidays, and attendance at prayer services conflict with the demands of the workplace, schools, the military, hospitals, and prisons. 106 Muslim dietary restrictions and religiously inspired choices in attire, such as veiling and prayer caps, also require a degree of religious tolerance and accommodation. With the extremely narrow conception of what constitutes the Judeo-Christian tradition of our society gaining in popular use, the Muslims of the United States stand in need of constitutional protection now perhaps more than ever before. The ability of the courts to extend such protection to Muslims has been made clear by the precedents set by other religious minorities. The courts' willingness to treat Muslims equally, however, remains unclear.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Muslims of America. Contributors: Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 151.
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