In a controversial decision by a U.S. school board, religious holidays will be removed from Montgomery County public schools’ calendar starting next year in the state of Maryland. But it won’t really affect students since they will still be allowed to have off from school during those particular days.
In other words, we would rather remove all references to existing religious holidays rather than be forced into adding two new holidays for Muslims. GOOD.
HNGN The issue was brought forward after Muslim leaders from terror-linked CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) protested over the fact that the schools were closed for Jewish holidays but not for Muslim ones even though both religious holidays will coincide next year on Sept. 23, 2015.
At this, Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr suggested the Board of Education to consider removing any religious mentions to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the school’s calendar beginning in the 2015-16 school year, with the board voting their agreement 7 to 1 on Tuesday afternoon.
The main reason for schools to remain closed on Christian and Jewish holidays is due to the absence of a significant number of staff and students on those days, Starr told MyFoxDC, adding that this will technically be regarded as the reason for providing holidays from next year.
Obviously, the board’s decision did not do much to satisfy Muslim leaders who were hoping for their children to gain a day off for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, according to NBC News. “Equality is really what we’re looking for,” Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of Equality for Eid, said. “Simply saying we’re not going to call this Christmas, and we’re not going to call this Yom Kippur, and still closing the schools, that’s not equality.”
Since the 1970s, Montgomery County Public Schools have closed for the Jewish high holidays because the county’s large Jewish population in the county creates a high absenteeism rate in the county, Fox News reported. However, county officials claim the size of the county’s Muslim population doesn’t warrant closing schools.
“High absenteeism is the main reason” for schools being closed on the Jewish high holidays, said Dana Tofig with Montgomery County Public Schools. “The absentee rate on the Eid holidays, when they’ve fallen on a school day, haven’t been considerably higher or lower than it is on any other given day.”
“The Eid is just the same exact as Christmas day or Easter day or Yom Kippur,” Hussein, who has campaigned for the past 20 years to have the Muslim holiday added to the school calendar, said. “The children want to home with their families. This is a family holiday that God designated and gave us the time to celebrate and be joyous.”
Meanwhile, future school calendars will now list the students’ Christmas vacation as “winter break”, the Easter vacation as “spring break” while religious holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur would simply be marked “no school for students and teachers.”
CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry said:
“We’re very disappointed that the board would take such drastic measures to deny fair and equitable treatment for the county’s Muslim population. The Muslim community has been struggling for years to obtain equality for the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha holidays. There’s no justice in robbing other faith communities of their holidays in order to deny Muslims equal accommodation. We believe yesterday’s decision doesn’t solve the problem, as schools would still not be closed in observance of Muslim holidays unless they happen to coincidentally land on a weekend or other holiday.” (That’s the idea!)