In a time where too many Americans seem to view Muslims as terrorists because of the actions of a few, New York City has made a monumental move, described by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a a “common-sense change.” Starting next year, New York City public schools will observe two Muslim holidays with days off for students.
According to CNN:
Under the change announced by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, there will be no class for Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, starting next September 24. Another Muslim holiday, Eid al-Fitr — a festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan — will become a holiday for those in summer school starting in 2016.
A major contributing factor to this change is probably the number of Muslim households in the city of New York. Out of eight million people in the five boroughs, it is reported that about one million practice Islam. A 2009 study conducted by Columbia University found that roughly 10 percent of New York City students are Muslim.
“Muslim students and their families who observe Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha shouldn’t have to choose between an instructional day and their religious obligations,” said Chancellor Farina. “This new addition will also enable a teachable moment in the classroom for our students to learn about religious tolerance and the societal contributions of various cultures.”
Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and the parent of three public school students, said, “Muslims are a part of the fabric of this country. We make our country proud, and today, New York City made us proud.”
New York City joins districts in New Jersey, Vermont and Massachusetts as ones that have implemented observations of Muslim holidays.