This coalition is pushing for the school district to recognize these Muslim holidays - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 9, 2016 2:30 pm

This coalition is pushing for the school district to recognize these Muslim holidays

The Philadelphia Eid Coalition and Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. want schools to recognize Eid Al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr.

Celebrating the Eid holidays.

(Photo by Flickr user leeno, used under a Creative Commons license)

As it stands, the Philadelphia School District does not recognize the Muslim holidays Eid Al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr with days off. A local coalition is looking to change that.

The Philadelphia Eid Coalition is fighting for the Philadelphia School District to recognize Eid ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Eid ul-Adha (the end of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) starting in September 2016.

Considering Philadelphia’s founding as a place of religious freedom, they say, it would make sense that the public schools would embrace two Muslim holidays. Last year, New York City public schools closed for the first time in recognition of Eid ul-Adha. Meanwhile, in Jersey City, N.J., the school board recently voted for the district to remain open during the holiday.

Without the holidays off, many Muslim parents in Philadelphia feel Islam is not treated with the same level of respect the city lends other faiths — even though 23 percent of the world’s population identify as Muslim, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world behind Christianity.

The coalition has tapped Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. to lead the push in city council, and a resolution has been drafted in hopes that the holiday will be cemented in the public school schedule.

“The City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia and other such agencies recognize a number of religious holidays, including Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Christmas, and Good Friday,” the resolution states. “The growing population of Islamic observers and the religious significance of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha also warrant acknowledgement, equal recognition and observance by the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia.”

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Philly public schools recognizing the holidays could be an important step forward in religious and ethnic tolerance and acceptance in the city.

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