Mayor De Blasio

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Muslim holidays Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr will be recognized by public schools with the days off.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that NYC Public Schools will recognize Muslim holidays Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr and will officially close down in honor of those two days. Mayor de Blasio made the announcement at a Brooklyn public school where over a third of the student population missed classes on those days last year because of their faith.

Mayor de Blasio made sure to note that this “is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth. Either the child went and pursued his education and missed his religious observance or the other way around. That is the kind of choice that was wrong to have to make for these families.”

With this announcement, Mayor de Blasio fulfilled a 2013 campaign promise he made to the Muslim community while running for the position. The NYC public school system will now be the largest to close in honor of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr in America. Moreover, there are hundreds of thousands of Muslim students in NYC public schools according to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.

The community response has been positive, and many have appreciated the recognition of these two holy days. Ahmed Ali, a Brooklyn citizen, Muslim, and parent of two children in NYC public schools believes, “It’s good for the kids, it’s a good step toward unity. We already have a good relationship with the city, but this is better; it’s an improvement.”

New York City now joins school districts in Vermont, New Jersey, and Massachusetts in closing down their schools in recognition of these two Muslim holidays. Conversely, a Maryland school district made headlines when it decided not to add the Muslim holidays to their school calendar, and, instead removed all references to religious holidays.

Eid al-Adha will begin on the evening of September 23 and will continue through September 2. The day commemorates the triumphs of the Prophet Abraham, most notably submitting to God’s will to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own son. Eid al-Fitr will be on a Saturday in 2015, but schools will have the day off in 2016. It is known as the Feast of Fast-Breaking or the Lesser Feast because it celebrates the end of Ramadan, the month-long Muslim fast.

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