In push for Muslim school holiday, some Montgomery students will stay home

Oct 14, 2013 by

afgan studentsOn other holidays, the choice has been difficult: Education or faith? But this year, with the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha on Tuesday, the Shraim family decided against school. Their teenagers might fall behind in their classes. They might feel torn. But they will stay home to celebrate.

The Germantown family is joining others across Montgomery County in an effort to make the Islamic holy day into a full-fledged school holiday. They point out that school is closed for Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. It also is closed for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

They ask why a holiday wouldn’t similarly be given for Eid al-Adha, one of two major Muslim holidays, in a county with a growing Islamic community. There are no county or census figures on the Muslim population, but community leaders say that Muslims number at least in the “tens of thousands.” Montgomery’s population is nearly 1 million.

“It’s like we don’t feel equal to other people who get their holidays off,” says Hannah Shraim, 14, a sophomore at Northwest High School in Germantown.

School officials say they give excused absences to students who miss classes on religious holidays and that they can’t legally close schools for religious reasons. But the issue is gaining attention as Muslim leaders step up a call for equity and encourage Muslims and non-Muslims to keep children home Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Muslim leaders have started a petition drive, called a news conference and won the backing of a string of elected leaders and religious groups including a Lutheran church and a Jewish organization.

“We think this is very much a civil rights issue, and we’ve had a strong response from people of all faiths,” said Saqib Ali, a former state legislator and co-chair of the recently formed group Equality for Eid Coalition.

via In push for Muslim school holiday, some Montgomery students will stay home – The Washington Post.

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