Muslim Holidays Added To NYC School Calendar

City schools to recognize Muslim Holidays

Eid In NYC

(New York NY) In a morning announcement, Mayor de Blasio fulfilled a campaign promise by adding two Muslim Holidays — Eid al-Adha & Eid al-Fitr — to the New York City public schools calendar. This shift in policy shows the growing influence of the Muslim community in New York.

“New York City will become the largest school district in the nation to recognize Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as holidays,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“By recognizing these two important holidays, we show that not only are we welcoming to everyone’s religious beliefs but that we respect everyone’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Diaz worked on this issue since his days in the State Assembly and i 2007 introduced the bill to designate the two  Eid days as school holidays. Diaz recognized that “today’s announcement is the completion of years of hard work by the Muslim community and their allies in the legislature, and [I] applaud their efforts.”

Officials estimate that 1 in 8 New York City school children are Muslims. Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said, “We are not losing one instructional day…will be used for teacher training and professional development.”

Mona Davids, President of the New York City Parents Union (NYCPU) recalled that as a New York City public school student being marked absent when observing Muslim Holidays and until recently her own children have been marked absent for observing those holidays.

“This has been a long fight that I and many others have advocated for many years and am happy the day has come that parents do not have to choose between their child marked absent from school or their religious observance,” stated Davids.

 

EidInNYC_Respect

Bakary Camara, a parent, a realtor and leader of the Gambian Society, who was at the Mayor’s announcement, said the policy change recognizes that Muslims are “part and parcel of the fabric of New York City. Camara made pointed remarks against Islamic terrorism. “We Muslims who oppose the terrorists can send the message that we are treated fairly and there is no aggression against Muslims here.”

Jacqueline Colson, NYCPU Queens Chapter Leader welcomed the policy change and said, “I look forward to Mayor de Blasio announcing soon that Diwali, a very important holiday to our Indian community will be added as well,” Colson said. 

“Now, we will continue our campaign to provide Halal lunches to students because too many Muslim students are going hungry in our schools,” added Ms. Davids.

The change takes effect in September 2015. Schools will close on September 24 for Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, will occur in July this year. Summer school will close then also.

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