Newark Public Schools settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of a former Muslim student who was forced to skip his graduation from West Side High School two years ago because it was held in the sanctuary of a Baptist Church.
As a Muslim, Bilal Shareef’s faith prohibited him from entering a building with religious icons, such as pictures of God or images of the cross, according to the suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union- New Jersey.
The suit argued both the graduation and a yearly baccalaureate service held in a Catholic church, discriminated against Shareef be cause of his religious beliefs.
“I was forced to choose between honoring my education and my faith, and no one should be put in that position,” Shareef said in a statement. “I’m proud that I stood up for my beliefs, and I’m proud that my experience will keep other students from having to face the choices I did.”
Superintendent Marion Bolden wouldn’t reveal the amount, but confirmed there was a financial settlement between the district and Shareef. Barocas would not comment on the monetary settlement.