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Muslim Students in Elizabeth, N.J. Suspended for Refusing to Salute Flag

May 17, 1963 - Five Negro pupils, described as followers of “Islamic teachings,” have been suspended from a public school in Elizabeth, N.J., for up to three months because they refused to salute the U.S. flag, the Board of Education said today. The school board said the parents of the five children contended that they did not have to salute the flag on the ground that it was contrary to their “Islamic teachings.” Eric Groezinger, an assistant education commissioner, said the parents of the children were members of the Black Muslim movement and of the congregation of a mosque in Newark. The five children, three boys and two girls ranging up to eleven years, were temporarily reinstated on orders from Frederick M. Raubinger, State Commissioner of Education. He is expected to decide whether the children, whose names were not released, can claim exemption on the ground of “conscientious scruples” from the requirement to pledge allegiance to the flag and salute it at the beginning of each school day.


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