Muslims across the U.S. who have been lobbying schools to close down on their holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha have found an ally in the next mayor of New York City.
Both leading candidates – Republican Joe Lhota and Democrat Bill de Blasio – have expressed support for recognizing the Muslim holidays by closing schools, according to the New York Post.
Lohta told the New York Daily News that with a growing Muslim community in the city, “their religion needs to be respected as all other religions are respected,.”
“Those who are Muslim will be allowed to have that day off to celebrate their holidays,” the Republican candidate said.
De Blasio said a child “who has an exam on a day that right now on one of the Eid holidays, they’re either respecting their religious obligation or they’re doing what their education requires of them.”
“They can’t do both,” he said.
As WND reported, the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations has lobbied to close down schools for the Muslim holidays, which vary on the calendar from year to year.
In nearby Montgomery County, Md., CAIR is petitioning local school officials to add two Islamic holidays to the school calendar and, if needed, to shorten the winter break to make up for the days off.
“There is no need for any MCPS students to miss classroom instruction time if schools were to close for Eid holidays,” their petition argues. “There is a state law that mandates at least 180 classroom instruction days per year. That won’t change. If schools were to close on Eid holidays the missed days could easily be made up by slightly shortening the lengthy winter or summer breaks.
“Alternatively any of the many pre-existing school closings could be moved to coincide with Eid holidays,” the petition argues.
The Muslims want schools in Maryland to close on Islamic holidays because they observe the Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas, and the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The dates of Muslim holidays vary because they are based on the Islamic calendar.
The Muslims argue that the county schools already close on “Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.”
The school calendar, however, notes that Yom Kippur is on a Saturday, and Passover is not mentioned.
Nevertheless, Muslims want recognition of Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, marking the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
“Currently the thousands of Muslim MCPS staff and students have to choose between their education and observing their religious practices,” the coalition argues. “This is not a choice that our Christian and Jewish neighbors face on their holidays.”
According to a report in the local Gazette, the sponsor of the move is the Maryland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Muslim coalition said other school districts that acknowledge their holidays already include Burlington, Vt.; Cambridge, Mass.; Dearborn, Mich.; Skokie, Ill.; and Paterson and Trenton, N.J.
The chief operating officer of the Maryland district, Larry Bowers, however, pointed out that state law now allows districts to close only for secular purposes, reports Pamela Geller in her Atlas Shrugs blog.
The report noted the system already recognizes both Muslim holidays by declaring them non-testing days and giving Muslim students excused absences.
Geller said CAIR, which was formed by Muslim Brotherhood leaders as a front group for Hamas, according to FBI evidence, “is on the Islamic supremacist march in Maryland.”
“Latest front is the Montgomery County public schools,” she wrote. “They want them closed on Muslim holidays (does that include 9/11)? Of course, they frame this as a civil rights issue. 9/11 is a civil rights issue. I expect (al-Qaida leader Ayman) Zawahiri to frame Islam’s war on the West as a civil rights issue as well. There is nothing civil about the exploitation of the civil rights issue.
Geller said she found irony in the name of the group lobbying schools, Equality for Eid Coalition.
“Considering that there is no equality under the Shariah, it is particularly contemptible,” she said. “Under the Shariah, non-Muslims are denied basic human rights and forced to live as sub-humans or dhimmis.”