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City adds two Muslim holy days to official school holidays • Brooklyn Paper

City adds two Muslim holy days to official school holidays

The day is theirs: Mayor DeBlasio announces that public school students will get two Muslim holy days off from school. Hizzoner dropped the news at PS-IS 30 in Bay Ridge, a school nestled in the neighborhood’s burgeoning Muslim commuity where more than one-third of students were absent during the last major Islamic holiday.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Public school kids will get the day off from school during two major Muslim holidays — Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha — starting this summer, according to Mayor DeBlasio, who announced the new holidays at PS-IS 30 in Bay Ridge on March 4.

“Hundreds of thousands of Muslim families will no longer have to choose between honoring the most sacred days on their calendar or attending school,” DeBlasio said.

The school on Fourth Avenue and Ovington Avenue sits in a section of Bay Ridge with a growing Muslim community, and more than one-third of the school’s population was absent the last time Eid al-Adha fell on a school day, according to the Mayor’s office.

Attention to the holidays will foster understanding by continuing to bring Islamic tradition into mainstream culture, a Muslim leader said.

“The Majlis Ash-Shura [Islamic Leadership Council] of Metropolitan New York welcomes this latest affirmation of the will and hope of Muslim New Yorkers, who continue during difficult times to claim our place in American society, by demanding equal rights and recognition for our faith community,” said Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, president of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York. “This is now evidenced anew by the establishment of Muslim School Holidays on the NYC DOE calendar. Our children and all New Yorkers are the victors in this long struggle. We are grateful for all who worked with us in producing a more fair and equitable society for us all to live in as neighbors.”

United in support: PS-IS 30 student Farzana Ali and schools chancellor Carmen Farina applaud the news that students will get two Muslim holy days off starting this summer.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Schools will not lose any instructional days, the mayor said.

Eid al-Fitr is a feast marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and typically falls in the summer. Eid al-Adha commemorates the Biblical Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God and typically takes place in the fall.

Muslim community groups have been lobbying the city to grant days off on the two holidays for years.

State legislators passed a bill in December letting schools close on Chinese New Year and other religious holidays where observance would preclude many kids from going to school.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Finally, recognition: Christina Tasca, Sahar Alsahlam, and Zeiwab Khalil are excited the city is recognizing Muslim holy days. Muslim groups have been lobbying the city to do so since at least 2009.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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