A Maryland school board has voted to strike Christian and Jewish holidays from their calendar next year after local Muslim leaders demanded that they add Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday, to the school schedule.
The request from the local Muslims cited holidays like Yom Kippur in their quest for a calendar based on equality. In the end, they got the equal calendar they wanted; now no religions will be on it.
Incidentally, Eid al-Adha falls on the same day as Yom Kippur next year, so students would have had that day off anyway. The Muslim leaders simply wanted that holiday included on the calendar as well.
The Montgomery County school board, who voted to ban the holidays by a vote of seven to one, made a point of saying that these changes will have no affect on the days students have off. Students will still have Christmas and certain Jewish holidays off, the calendar will just not mention what these holidays are.
The school will not give students days off for Muslim holidays because there simply aren’t enough Muslims to make that worth it.
“High absenteeism is the main reason,” said Dana Tofig, public information officer for 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.”
Ironically, Muslim leaders are even more upset now than they were before. They now say the school district is attacking all religious groups, rather than just one.
“By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality,” Saqib Ali, co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition, a group advocating for Muslim holidays off, commented. “It’s a pretty drastic step, and they did it without any public notification.”
What do you think of this school board’s decision, and what should they have done instead? Sound off in the comments below!
H/T: The Blaze