New Jersey Muslim group wants an Islamic holiday for students
⚫ NJ Muslim group wants towns to close school for an Islamic holiday
⚫ Eid is a celebration of Muslims commitment and submission to God
⚫ More than 2 dozen NJ towns already recognize the day as a holiday
The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations is encouraging municipalities across the Garden State to designate the Muslim holiday Eid ul Fitr, referred to simply as Eid, as a day off in next year’s academic school calendar.
Dina Sayedahmed said Eid is one of two major Islamic holidays and students should not have to choose between attending class and celebrating Eid.
“It’s part of your religious duties in Islam to celebrate Eid, so it’s not an encouragement, this is an accomodation that students do need, they do require,” she said.
A commitment to God
She explained Eid comes after a month of fasting, Ramadan, “and it’s a celebration of our commitment and submission to God, this holiday comes in as a celebration, a way to mark the end of the fast.”
She said Ramadan celebrates the commitment “to the will of God, and also it celebrates, it’s the month that Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed, which is our holy book.”
She said the official number of school districts that recognize Eid as a holiday is now 27, but at least three more are believed to also have designated it as a day off.
Having a holiday can promote tolerance and understanding
Sayedahmed said another reason to observe Eid as a school holiday is to promote tolerance and understanding.
“This inspires conversation among students, among staff, and it plays a role in dispelling stereotypes about Muslims and decreasing anti-Muslim bigotry and violence.”
She noted last year there were 20 reports of anti-Muslim incidents in New Jersey schools, including bullying and anti-sensitive comments, but the real number is probably a lot higher.
She said approximately 3% of New Jersey is Muslim and the number is growing.
You can see the list of towns that have designated Eid as a holiday here.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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