Detroit Evening Report: Michigan House bill would require religious accommodations for higher education students

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Michigan House of Representatives chamber

Michigan House of Representatives chamber.

Michigan lawmakers have introduced a new House bill that would require certain postsecondary education institutions to adopt policies that offer reasonable religious accommodations for students who may miss school due to religious holidays and holy days.

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If passed, House Bill 5656 would allow students to make up tests or activities on alternative days, and would allow them to miss up to three days during the academic calendar for religious activities without penalty.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), State Rep. Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn) and State Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton), was referred to the Committee on Education last week.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan Chapter (CAIR-MI) praised the bill when it was introduced on Wednesday.

“Students seeking higher education should be free to attend communal prayers and gatherings on sacred days without fear of academic penalty,” he said in a news release.

Walid stated that CAIR-MI plans to submit official testimony to the Michigan House regarding instances of exams taking place on Islamic holy days and how the bill, if passed, would accommodate Michigan’s robust Muslim community.

Other headlines for Monday, April 29, 2024: 

  • Detroit’s Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men received the Katherine Blasik Distinguished Award from the educational nonprofit NAF for exceptional college and career readiness program.
  • The Health Unit on Davison Avenue (HUDA Clinic) received a 2024 Gold Rating from the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics Quality Standards Program. It’s their fourth consecutive year to receive the award, which monitors how clinics are providing equitable and accessible health care.
  • Detroit Public Television and the Arab American National Museum is teaming up to present a free event on Thursday, May 2 to explore the history of Detroit’s Muslim community. The program is a part of the 10 city lecture series,  “American Muslim Pathways,” which explores the history of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. beginning in the 16th century. 

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.