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Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools

Muslim groups in New York have asked the city council to have schools closed in observance of two Muslim holy days–Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha. The governments have complied with similar requests that are made in other parts of the country. But there has been an argument on whether these holidays should be recognized by the government. In a country like the USA, the question on whether to provide holidays for religious festivals of certain religion is a serious question. This essay evaluates this question by discussing both sides of the debate.

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After the requests from several Muslim religious and labor groups, the City Council of New York added two more holidays to the public school holiday calendar to mark two important Muslim holy days — the Eid-Ul-Fitr and the Eid-Ul-Adha. But there has been an argument on whether these holidays should be recognized by the government. In a country like the USA which has a diverse religion and culture, the question on whether to provide holidays for religious festivals of certain religion is a serious question. “The current school calendar recognizes major Christian and Jewish holy days like Christmas and Yom Kippur, but no Muslim holy days.” (Hindu Press International, 2009, New York Schools Might Observe Muslim Holidays, para.2). “According to an academic review of—- provided by Muslim organizations and mosques, the highest reasonable total number of Muslims in the United States is 2.8 million” (Number of Muslims in the United States: How Many Muslims are in the United States, para.1). Eid – Ul – Fitr is celebrated around the world by Muslims to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan and their holy fasting lasting a month. Eid – Ul – Adha marks the end of the Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca by the followers of Islam and falls on the 10th day of Zul Hijjah. The dates of these festivals are followed according to the Islamic lunar calendar and it differs each year in the universally followed Gregorian calendar. Both the festivals have religious services in the morning which the students will have to attend. This can cause the Muslim students to miss classes.

A large number of people agree to this move of the New York City Council in providing holidays for Muslim festivals and do not have visible opposition from the public. Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Fitr are the two most important holidays of the Islamic religion and there is a large concentration of Muslim immigrants in New York. “The resolution’s advocates said that since about 12 percent, or more than 100,000 of the city’s public school students are Muslim, they deserved recognition” (Geo World, Council Vote for Muslim Eid Holidays, para.11). In Dearborn, Michigan, schools remain closed for Muslim festivals as almost half of the school students are Muslims. Also, most schools in New Jersey are given holidays for Muslim holy days.

However, this move is not free from opposition. The New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not support recognizing of Muslim holidays in school. The Mayor said that only those religious holy days which “a very large number of kids who practice” can be accommodated in the school holiday calendar. “If you close the schools for every single holiday, there won’t be any school,” he said. “Educating our kids requires time in the classroom, and that’s the most important thing to us” (New York City- Despite Bloombergs Objection, City Council Votes for Two Muslim School Holidays, para.4). Some people see it from a different angle like this article says “Not only do celebrating religious holidays in school cause disruptions in school, but it can also cause disruptions at home. Some parents may not want their children exposed to certain religions” (Should Public Schools Celebrate Religious Holidays? Easter and Passover are Just around the Corner. Is it Educational for Public Schools to Celebrate these Holidays, or Unconstitutional? (Opinion), para.7). Also, not every Muslim group feel the move of the government has anything to do with serving the Muslim community. “The second the schools get into the business of officially recognizing holidays, it gets into establishing religion,” a potential constitutional problem, said Hussein Rashid, an Islamic scholar at Hofstra University. How would the city establish criteria for granting Muslims days off, but not Hindus or other groups, he asked” (Sataline, para.15). Another group of people advocate that schools should not be closed for religious festivals and religion and culture should not be interconnected with academics.

Concluding this topic by giving preference to any one side of the debate is difficult. If the US Government believes in having a diverse population, with their own tastes and preferences, and if these diverse cultures contribute to the growth of the country intellectually, then it can be concluded that all religions and cultures should be given equal recognition whether in providing religious holidays or not.

Works Cited

“Geo World: Council Vote for Muslim Eid Holidays”. Geo Television Network. 2009. Web.

“Hindu Press International: New York Schools Might Observe Muslim Holidays”. Hinduism Today. 2009. Web.

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New York City- Despite Bloombergs Objection, City Council Votes for Two Muslim School Holidays. Vos Iz Neias. 2009. Web.

Number of Muslims in the United States: How Many Muslims are in the United States. 2009. Web.

Sataline, Suzanne. “Muslim Press for School Holidays in New York City”. Top Stories in Career Journal. 2009. Web.

Should Public Schools Celebrate Religious Holidays? Easter and Passover are Just around the Corner. Is it Educational for Public Schools to Celebrate these Holidays, or Unconstitutional? (Opinion). The Free Library. 2009. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 30). Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 30). Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools. https://studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/

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"Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools." StudyCorgi, 30 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools." October 30, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/.


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StudyCorgi. "Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools." October 30, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools." October 30, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/muslim-holidays-in-the-united-states-schools/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Muslim Holidays in the United States Schools'. 30 October.

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