ST. LOUIS (RNS) — Farida Ahsan, a candidate for school board in this city’s Parkway district, was answering a question about racial disparities in school discipline when a melodic phrase came over the loudspeaker.

It was the Muslim call to prayer ringing through the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, where the forum was being held.

Saad Amir, the director of Muslims for a Better America, a sponsor of the forum, informed the audience that there would be a 10-minute break. If non-Muslims wanted to observe the prayers, they could take their shoes off and do so.

The interruption was nothing unusual for the Muslims who had gathered to hear from the candidates or for Muslims for a Better America, which has been pushing to

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