On the one hand, it’s a good idea to be respectful of religious holidays. However, in a nation like America that has people from every faith on earth, if all of us took a holiday every time some religion had a holy day, we’d never get anything done. The Council on American–Islamic Relations would apparently be just fine with that.
Standing in front of the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville, Northwest High School senior Anhar Karim said he is one of many students in the county who have faced a hard decision related to two Muslim holidays.
Karim said that when a holiday conflicts with school, he can either celebrate and miss class or go to school and miss the celebration.
“We are forcing our students into an unreasonable decision,” said Karim, who is president of the Montgomery County Muslim Student Association.
Karim and other speakers urged Montgomery County Public Schools to close when classes fall on Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr during a Monday press conference held by the Maryland chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations and the Equality for Eid Coalition.
Eid al-Adha celebrates sacrifice to God and falls on Oct. 15 this year. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and was Aug. 8. The dates of the holidays change because of the Islam lunar calendar.
The coalition, which is sponsored by the council, formed about a year ago to pursue a long-standing goal for the school closures.
Percentage wise, there really aren’t very many Muslims in the United States and once you get outside of say, Michigan, you could probably make just as good a case that Hindus, Scientologists, and Voodoo practitioners deserve holidays off as Muslims. That’s not a slap at Muslims; it’s just the demographic reality of the country. So, no, schools shouldn’t be taking Islamic holidays off.