Sunday, July 11, 2010

Group Makes Push For Muslim School Holidays

Taken from here.

By: Rebecca Spitz

NEW YORK CITY – A group of Muslim parents and their supporters gathered Wednesday on the steps of City Hall where they called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to recognize Islamic holidays on the school calendar.

The coalition of religious, immigrant and labor groups is asking the mayor to honor a City Council resolution calling for two Muslim holy days -- Eid-ul Adha and Eid-ul Fitr -- to be added to the school calendar.

The resolution passed last year, however Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein say there is not room for more time off during the academic year.

The group says the fact they were considering pushing back the first day of school to accommodate Rosh Hashanah indicates that there is flexibility in the system. They also say having no Islamic holidays discriminates against the city's 100,000 Muslim school children.

"Twelve percent of the New York City's 1.1 million school children are Muslim. And our children deserve to have their holiday like everyone else," said City Councilman Robert Jackson.

"We want to make our holiday like other people. We want to be equal like other people. It's not fair. We want to get our rights just like other people get their rights," said one student.

Mayor Bloomberg says he is supportive of the Muslim community and the rights of all religious groups. However, he says New York City children need more time in the classroom, not less.

The teachers' union says it supports including the holidays, but did not offer any specific suggestions on how to make up the days.

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