NYC Council Passes Resolution Calling on Department of Education to Recognize Muslim Holidays

New York, NY: A diverse coalition of more than 80 community, labor, civil rights and religious organizations commends the New York City Council for passing Resolution 1281 which calls on the Department of Education to include two major Muslim Holidays in the New York City public school calendar. This resolution demonstrates the broad-based support for inclusion of the holidays in the school calendar by New Yorkers throughout the city.

“The New York City Council’s overwhelming vote in support of the Resolution is a strong indication of our city’s commitment to educational equity and religious inclusion,” said CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, who sits on the steering committee of the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays. “Indeed, this is an opportunity to foster a better understanding of Islam and reaffirm that Muslims are a valued part of this city.”

"Equality is a concept enshrined in our national Constitution and upheld at state and local levels of government,” said Councilmember Robert Jackson, the legislation’s chief sponsor. “This legislation delivers on that promise to New York City public school students by allowing them to exercise their Constitutional right to practice their faith without compromising their attendance record at school. I'm proud to have sponsored this bill."

"Muslim students make up over 10 percent of our student population, their religious holidays need to be respected and incorporated into the school calendar," said Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr., a co-sponsor of Resolution 1281

Coalition members are now looking forward to working with the city’s Department of Education to incorporate the holidays into the school calendar.

“Because we respect the religious diversity represented in our schools, we recognize that students have the right to observe the special days on their religious calendars. We join in support of the students, parents and educators who are seeking a way to incorporate Muslim holidays into the existing school calendar,” said Amina Rachman, Special Assistant to the President, United Federation of Teachers.

Recognition of the two holidays will remove the unfair choice that 1 out of every 8 New York City Public School children currently have to make between missing out on lessons and educational opportunities and celebrating their most major holidays. The vast majority 95% of Muslim school-age children attend public schools in New York City.

“Right now, our neighbors in New Jersey in the cities of Paterson, Atlantic City, Irvington, Cliffside Park, Prospect Park, Trenton and Plainfield have already incorporated the two Eids into their school calendars. Given the number of Muslim students in our school system, it makes sense for us to follow this example and recognize the diversity of our city,” said Imam Talib of the Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem.

“I think New York’s diversity is what makes it so strong. As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and a proud member of 32BJ SEIU, a union that represents members coming from over 30 different countries, I am very happy to join together with parents and community members from different backgrounds, cultures and religions to fight for our children’s education. I was proud to hear our president, Barack Obama’s speech in which he recognized the contributions of Muslims to the US. It is wonderful to see our city follow his admirable example,” said Elpidio Molina, member of the New York Civic Participation Project, the Coalition for Educational Justice and Executive Board Member of 32BJ SEIU.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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