New York City Public Schools to Close for Two Muslim Holidays

de Blasio Credit Kevin CaseNEW YORK — Public schools in New York City will now close for two major Muslim holidays, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.

de Blasio had expressed support for the move in 2013 while running as a mayoral candidate, stating that that schools should close on both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The first celebrates the close of Ramadan and the second observes Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael, and marks the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. (Muslims believe Abraham was asked to sacrifice Ishmael, while Christians and Jews believe it was Isaac who was placed on the altar.)

“The origins of this nation [are] people of many different faiths coming together,” de Blasio told the New York Daily News at that time. “That’s why we have to respect Muslim faiths by providing the Eid school holidays for children in our school system.”

On Wednesday, he and school Chancellor Carmen Farina announced the official implementation of the accommodation.

“We made a pledge to families that we would change our school calendar to reflect the strength and diversity of our city,” de Blasio said. “This is a common-sense change, and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our city. … This is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth.”

“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,” added 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.”

Two additional school days were added in return to keep the total number of days at 180, plus two snow days. New York City Schools currently close on the Old Testament holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, and on Christmas and Easter. Adding Muslim holidays to the mix makes New York City the largest city in the nation to observe Muslim holidays in its public school system.

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“I think we [need] have a larger discussion in this city and in this nation—a deeper understanding of the Muslim faith and its obvious connection to the other faiths for which we do honor school holidays,” de Blasio said on Wednesday. “[T]here is a clear connection between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

Schools will close on Sept. 24 for Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, will be observed next year for those attending Summer School.

But now that de Blasio has announced the change, other religious groups are also hoping for recognition of their holidays as well. According to the International Business Times, Hindus are disappointed that the change does not include the Hindu Festival of Lights, known as Diwali.

“While the addition of two Muslim holidays is commendable, the mayor’s decision to exclude Diwali, a festival that is celebrated by thousands of Hindu, Jain, and Sikhs in NYC, is beyond disappointing,” Sheetal Shah, senior director of the Hindu American Foundation, remarked in a statement. “These communities are a vibrant and integral part of this city and deserve to be able to celebrate their festivals. In excluding Diwali, the mayor is falling short on his responsibility to equally represent all New Yorkers.”

One commenter noted when de Blasio first made his campaign promise that if all religions are accommodated in public schools, school districts are going to have difficulty fitting in adequate time for instruction.

“If all students get the day off for every holiday no matter the religion, soon the schools won’t be open much,” they wrote. “They should just make it an excused day for the child that celebrates certain holidays, and still have school for the rest of the students.”

Photo: Kevin Case


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  • Marcia Skinner

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????

    • Badkey

      Why does it bother you. Isn’t that what freedom of religion is all about?

      • brucefl56

        Great, now Catholics can have the whole season of Lent. Ishmael was a son of his handmaid.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          If Lent were two days long, you might have a point. (And I might have a ham sandwich.)

      • Marcia Skinner

        The news don’t get their holidays off school

      • Marcia Skinner

        The jews. Don’t get their holidays off

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/EyrtheFyre Regina Forbes

    This is going to be popular, not because of islam, but because kids and teachers will use any excuse for a day off from school. Whatever, hey, hand out free ham sandwiches in front of the schools on those days.

    • dark477

      what will that accomplish?

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/EyrtheFyre Regina Forbes

        LULZ

  • Harry Oh!

    New Yorkers elected this nut, so they can live with whatever crazy policies he implements. The secular, mostly liberal east coast is leading the way for the destruction of America and the rest of the country just goes along for the ride.

  • Badkey

    And that’s what freedom of religion is all about, is it not?

    Why do christians think they deserve special treatment over all other citizens?

    • Tim Raynor

      Good luck getting an answer on that. There are some Christians who literally think the Constitution was specifically catered to Christians, even though there isn’t a single word in it promoting the ideal or establishment of Christianity.

      • brucefl56

        You should read more of the writings dealing with the Constitution.

        • Badkey

          Which never mentions your specific mythology.

          • Paul Hiett

            Not once.

        • Tim Raynor

          I have studied the Constitution for the past two decades. Apparently you have not read it yourself, or perhaps you just don’t understand it? In any case, did you have a question I can help you with in dealing with the Constitution (mainly First Amendment for this discussion) ?

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I’m sorry, I thought you people wanted a “strict constructionist” view of the Constitution. What is all this about extraneous documents?

      • Deedee Keith

        REALLY THAN WHY DID IDIOTS LIKE YOU TAKE GOD OUT OF COUNTRY AND PUT IN THE MUSLIM god. WAIT TILL THEY TAKE YOUR CHILDRENS HEAD.. YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU SOW

        • Paul Hiett

          Does it make you feel good to insult others?

      • lynn

        Do you think that the constitution was written for everybody but Christians?

    • brucefl56

      Ishmael was a son of his hand maid and mohammed is a false peophet I guess we should have the whole time of lent off also. How about holidays for buddah. Where are your cries of Separation of Church and State.

      • Badkey

        Mo is as false a prophet as your christ.

        I’d be even happier with holidays for Buddah.

        And letting folks stay home is not pushing mythology by government any more than it has been for easter or christmas break.

    • Deedee Keith

      YOUR AN IDIOT…WE AS CHRISTIANS HAVE NO RIGHTS BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU TOOK GOD AWAY FROM OUR COUNTRY AND NOW YOU ALLOWED THE DEVIL TO COME IN.. YOU ALL WILL REAP THE ROTTEN FRUIT YOU SOW…

      • Paul Hiett

        So you have no rights at all?

        • Deedee Keith

          No because idiots like you vote to take them away, you will reap the rotten fruit you sow, and will die in your sins unless you REPENT.

      • Badkey

        WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING? IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU SOUND ANY LESS STUPID!

    • lynn

      If Christians can’t have a time set aside for prayer, but Muslims can, how can you say that Christians are getting special treatment? Looks to me like it’s the other way around. Bradley and Paul are two peas in the same pod.

  • Mr. Avatar

    And how does it feel to help destroy our country Mayor?

  • http://bbcatholics.blogspot.com/ OneBreadOneBody

    Why not go to a voucher system like other more enlightened states like Arizona where charters and religious schools flourish? Oh right. Arizona doesn’t have a bloated, self-serving teacher’s union.

  • Mr. Farid

    My name is Farid. I am a first-born American Christian, and if I was still a Muslim in grade school neither I nor my family would need an American city to honor foreignly originated religious practices for any reason. It is as unnatural for an historically and foundationally Judeo-Christian country to administrate Islamic religious holidays, as it would be for an historically and foundationally Islamic country to administrate Christmas and Easter holidays. Americans should not expect our government to treat everything here like it’s an abstraction, a trash-compactor or guacamole chip-dip. New York City’s decision is an example of the absolute, ignorant absurdity of non-leadership.

    • Badkey

      Sweetcheeks, our governance never mentions your specific mythology.

      I’ll leave you with the words of Thomas Jefferson:

      “Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

      -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

      • Mr. Farid

        My first thought was to provide you examples of Jefferson’s non-Christian beliefs, about which much can be said, but that is an ad-hominem error no less! But If you look closely at the paragraph you provided and compare it to the subject matter of the news article and my comment about it you may see that it has nothing to do with what we’re talking about!

        • Mr. Farid

          To clarify a bit: I think your quote is about protections and freedom, and my words about boundaries, patronizing…and bit of patriotism.

          • Badkey

            Our muslim citizens are every bit as American as our christian ones.

          • brucefl56

            yea talk about special treatment in schools, let them stop school and pray, when you can’t even have a moment of silence.

          • Badkey

            That’s cute… I’ve not seen where they’re stopping school so that only muslims can pray.

          • Paul Hiett

            What are Muslim kids supposed to say during the Pledge of Allegiance?

          • beverly

            If u live in the United States u need to pledge allegiance to the United States. Why did thwy come here

          • Paul Hiett

            And what is part of that Pledge? What religion must they swear to in that Pledge?

          • lynn

            Isn’t there god Allah? You just like to cause confusion.

        • Badkey

          Darlin, this ain’t about christians… it’s about the US policy of freedom of religion… not just freedom of christianity.

          New York is simply embracing that concept.

          What’s the fuss?

    • Darlene Polizzi

      Very wise sir!And to all non Christians and Christians in this country: preserve your country , your culture. Just because you celebrate your holidays should be no offense to anyone who loves our country enough to come live here!

  • Asif Ghauri

    So what about Muslims Countries ???? There are about more than 3 million Christians in Pakistan but there is no holidays for there religious events ????? And the same situation is for other Muslim Countries . This should be the same in these countries as Americans are doing. Praying

    • Badkey

      What, exactly, do you expect the US or New York to do about what other countries do?

      So, because their government are asshats, you want us to be the same?

      Really?

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Yeah, that’s pretty bad. Clearly the solution is for us to do the same.

  • brucefl56

    Ishmael wasn’t the son he was going to sacrifice Ishmael, he was a son of his handmade. Next you want to have a holiday for mohammed a false prophet.

  • blueray

    …mayor, when you say these can be “teachable” days, what you’re saying is you’re allowing indoctrination,,,it is only right to let CHRISTians bring their bibles also,,,you see, whether you believe or not, there’s one hope to be with GODJEHOVAH, His son JESUS forever,,,in allowing this false religion, who’s belief will take you to hell, you’ve become an ally of Satan…….I will pray for you, as this religion doesn’t have any intentions to coexist, but take over, control the world,,,yes, my bible tells me so, the only truth…Shalom…….

    • Paul Hiett

      What makes you think their religion is “false”? Is it because you believe in your religion and therefore all other religions are false?

    • Ambulance Chaser

      They can bring Bibles to school.

  • Deedee Keith

    SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE OF NEW YORK YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU SOW, AND TO ALL YOU DUMB ASS’S WHO ARE FOR MUSLIMS WAIT TILL THEY TAKE YOUR HEADS AND KILL YOURS SONS AND RAPE YOUR DAUGHTERS.. YOU ARE A STUPID STATE…

    • Paul Hiett

      A fine example of a Christian you are.

  • http://www.imagineitincorporatedng.com/ Tessa

    Seems to me like this is a copy of Abraham sacrificing Isaac to God and how that it pleased God so much that Abraham was going to do His will. He provided a lamb for Abraham and then blessed him. He gave him the blessing to operate on the earth.

    This set Abraham as belonging to God on earth and having God’s favor and prospering and his family prospering in their spirit, soul and body.

    The blessing is unquantifiable because it touches everything about you. Honoring God in the way you live, what you do, how you act and how you consider Him in all you do gets His attention.

    If America doesn’t want the blessing because they have forgotten who God is to them and the reason the founding fathers recognized God in their constitution and caused the nation to be blessed, they need the gospel preached to them again, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and who He is and why He came. It is an honor to tell about Jesus.

    • lynn

      Abraham said that God would provide Himself a lamb for a sacrifice. God did indeed provide Himself as a sacrifice on Calvarys hill and Jesus paid the full price of redemption for all who would believe and trust in Him.

  • Dr. Dee Tee

    is america a western country any more? this appeasing of minorities has got to stop.

    • LadySunami

      Christian students get two holidays, Jewish students get two holidays and now Muslim students get two holidays. Seems reasonable to me.

      • Lexical Cannibal

        Sigh…maybe one day my religion will get officially recognized holidays…

        • LadySunami

          Don’t be silly! We atheists can enjoy the other religions’ holidays just fine. 😛

      • Dr. Dee Tee

        it is a western NON-muslim country. stop appeasing to those people who have immigrated and should have given up their alligencies to other countries

        • LadySunami

          Islam is a religion, not a country or nationality. People can be Muslim Americans just like they can be Jewish Americans or Christian Americans.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            still not justification in adding holidays to the school schedule

          • LadySunami

            If there is a sufficient number of Muslims in the school system, then yes that is an excellent justification for adding holidays to the school schedule. Again, other religions with significant populations in the New York City school system get two religious holidays of their own off. It makes perfect sense to do the same for Islamic students as well.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            again, it is not a muslim country.

          • LadySunami

            It’s not a Christian country either. Our constitution makes it quite clear that we are not to establish any state religion.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            your distorted view of what establishing means ruins your point and credibility

          • LadySunami

            I think it means our government cannot declare a state religion and is prohibited from favoring one religion over another. What do you think it means?

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            i guess that means New York must give 2 holidays to the hare krishnas, buddhists, hindus, sikhs, as well as the myriad of religions practiced by so many different immigrants (i.e. voodoo)

            so when do we get the time to educate the children?

          • LadySunami

            I imagine it’s based on population. If the populations of any of those groups became significant then they would get holidays too. Somehow I don’t think you’d be happy allowing Muslims to have religious holidays no matter what percentage of the religious population they make up.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            if so then you are not being fair and have the government establishing official recognized religions.

          • LadySunami

            Allowing multiple religions to practice is the exact opposite of establishing a state religion. Would you prefer there be no religious holidays at all? That is also a reasonable solution. The school district I grew up in had no religious holidays off. Winter break would fall on Christmas but spring break was rarely if ever on the week of Easter.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            i do not think we need religious holidays but since the nation already observes both Christmas and Easter they cannot be construed as religious holidays but national ones.

            No it is not the opposite as it has now made 3 religions the officially recognized beliefs. your double talk won’t get you out of this one

          • LadySunami

            You could argue that Christmas is more or less a secular holiday now, but that is definitely not true of Easter. As I said, my public high school did not do anything for Easter.

            Recognizing the rights of citizens to practice their beliefs is not the same thing as declaring their religion the official state religion. Giving students a day off from school for a religious holiday is simply respecting their right to practice said religion. Every religion should get some days off for their religious observances. If their religion is uncommon, then allowing specific students to be excused for that day is fine. Once the number of students who would need off becomes large enough it’s only sensible to make that day a holiday rather then continuing the school day with so many students missing. This shouldn’t be hard for you to understand.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            you are splitting hairs as Easter may have originated as a false religious holiday but it is a national one now and cannot be counted as a day for those who practice their religion.

            Like I said, where do we draw the line? now every religion can demand a day off for their special days. population size has nothing to do with it.

          • LadySunami

            You do realize Easter isn’t actually a federal holiday, don’t you? It is entirely a religious holiday. Some businesses voluntarily close on Easter but it has nothing to do with the federal government.

            Did you even read my second paragraph? I explained why population size has everything to do with it.

            If their religion is uncommon, then allowing specific students to be excused for that day is fine. Once the number of students who would need off becomes large enough it’s only sensible to make that day a holiday rather then continuing the school day with so many students missing.

            Get it? It’s the same reason snow days are always school wide, even if some of the students and teachers live close enough they could feasibly make it to class.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            I am not going to continue the discussion. You are wrong as is the mayor of new york.

  • sahana64

    Next they will have Osama Bin Laden observance day.

  • Darlene Polizzi

    This is all about getting votes. And were all looking at the act, like a crowd watching a magician, not realizing that the background I changing before our very eyes.

  • Darlene Polizzi

    This is all about getting votes. And were all looking at the act, like a crowd watching a magician, not realizing that the background is changing before our very eyes.

  • Coach

    islam having a connection with Christianity and Judaism is pure blasphemy. It’s like a random guy going into someone’s house and telling the residents, it’s ok, I’m your brother. mohammed was a false prophet who twisted what he learned under Jewish and Christian scholars to form his own religion. The koran promotes violence and though most of its followers may not be terrorists, to promote this religion is to promote teachings of those who hate our nation. We live in a nation of tolerance for everything but the Word of God and I think people like Mayor de Blasio are deceived into believing, they’re making a more perfect union. You can’t have a union that mocks God and expect things to go well, islam mocks God, hinduism mocks God, mormonism, and every other false religion mocks God. We will all stand before God on the Day of judgement, so it’s important that the truth be known, so the challenge for me and fellow believers is to live and proclaim that Truth. Jesus Christ, Him crucified, resurrected and seated at the right hand of the Father.

    • Paul Hiett

      How, exactly, do those other religions “mock” your choice of a deity?

      • Coach

        It’s not my choice. God is God not on the basis of our choosing. Man isn’t the measure of all things, God is. We can choose to serve whatever or whomever we want, but that doesn’t change who God is.

        • Paul Hiett

          Your parents chose your religion for you. No child is ever born believing in a deity…they have to be taught which one(s) to worship. Make no mistake, all religions are merely choices.

          So again, how does those religions mock your choice of a deity?

          • Coach

            You’re weren’t born an atheist, what’s your point. Why are you on this small site spewing your hatred for Christianity. If you’re trying to suggest that I lack the ability to think on my own, I’d say you’re correct, I also didn’t create myself, didn’t determine my place of birth and have no control over when and where I die. Do you put a smile on your face and say how much joy you have spending all your time trying to argue with every Christian who posts a comment on a Christian site. Paul, you put your faith in fallen mankind, I put mine in God, if you want truth, the Word of God is truth. The word of man is flawed and ever changing. Trust in the True God. As for my parents choosing a religion for me, I spent most of my life learning the same thing that you’re talking about and most of the world speaks the same man-centered lie that was first told to Eve in the garden. Still searching for the missing link to evolution and the whole chain is broken.

  • Truthhurts24

    This mayor is another classic Obama libtard that wants to destroy the Christian faith in America and embrace Islam the religion from hell. It is getting to the point in this country where Christians will be made second class citizens soon compared to everyone else and continue to have their rights violated by the government. Welcome to Communist America

    • Paul Hiett

      So, granting another religion a school holiday (and not removing an established Christian holiday, is somehow destroying your choice of a religion?

      Since when is this country a “Christians only” club?

      • Marcia Skinner

        Our country was founded on Christian beliefs

        • Paul Hiett

          I suggest you read the Treaty of Tripoli. This country is most certainly not founded as a Christian nation. You have no more say as a Christian in this country than I do as an atheist, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs, etc.

          All religions and those who follow them have equal say in this country.

      • Truthhurts24

        Never was Christian only country but the culture of America held the God of the Bible in high regard back then and society was much better but now ever since the liberals took the bible and prayer out of schools society has deteriorated.

        • Paul Hiett

          “Back then”

          How do you think blacks in this country felt about our country “back then”?

          How do you think women in this country felt “back then”?

          Please forgive me as I do not think our society was better “back then”. This country is not now, nor ever has been, a “Christian” country. We are a country made up of people of all different cultures, races, and religions. No one is better than another, and no one religious group should ever hold dominion over another.

          • Truthhurts24

            I never seen Christians hold dominion over anybody but I have witness from other religions and governments persecution of Christians even in the A.D. times

          • Paul Hiett

            I seriously doubt any Christians in the US know what real persecution is.

  • TheBBP

    This is fair so long as the new public school tradition of avoiding calling holidays by their names to avoid offending anyone remains intact.

    So instead of Eid al-Fitr in mid July, we should call it “Early Summer Day Off Day” and they can call Eid al-Adha “Just Got Back To School Day Off Day.”.

    Those names shouldn’t offend anyone. Also, any symbols that are synonymous with those days should be avoided at all costs, again, as to not offend anyone.

    • Paul Hiett

      Are you offended at the name of the holiday?

      • TheBBP

        It doesn’t matter if I am or not. Someone is. Someone always is. But in the spirit of playing the game…

        The names are not inclusive of other faiths or lack of faiths. They conjure images of a religion that I do not believe in and they make me feel like the school is trying to convert me to their chosen religion of Islam.

        This is how it works, right?

        • Paul Hiett

          They don’t believe in your religion, ya know. Shouldn’t it be fair?

          • TheBBP

            I already said that it is fair. They just need to make sure that the school is not allowing for an actual show of endorsement of Islam. No Islamic symbolism whatsoever.

  • gregkliebigsr

    JESUS CHRIST, CAME TO SAVE THE LOST!!

    JESUS CHRIST , BECAME THE SPOTLESS LAMB OF GOD AND TOOK YOUR SIN!!

    JESUS CHRIST , GAVE HIS LIFE SO YOU COULD LIVE ETERNALLY!

     

    Romans 10: 13. For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be SAVED.

    JESUS CHRIST , DEFEATED SIN, satan, DEATH AND THE GRAVE!!!!

    THEN , ON THE THIRD DAY JESUS CHRIST, CAME UP OUT OF THE GRAVE BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN AND POURED HIS BLOOD OUT ON THE MERCY SEAT( ALTAR) BEFORE GOD THE FATHER, TO PAY FOR OUR RANSOM!!

  • thoughtsfromflorida

    This is absolutely terrible. How in the world do they think it is reasonable for public schools, which serve all students of all beliefs, and that have a significant population of students of the Muslim faith, to not have classes on religious holidays for the Muslim faith?

    Doesn’t the mayor know that only Christian holidays should be recognized. And what’s up with the Jewish holidays? The majority of people in the US aren’t Jews. Imagine, showing respect for religions other than Christianity and not providing special recognition of only the Christian faith. Ridiculous! What is this…..a constitutional republic?????? Heck no – it’s a Christian Theocracy! de Blasphemy needs to get his head on straight.

  • Antoinette Joseph

    I AM THE LIVING GOD ALMIGHTY. I WILL RECIND THE ISLAMIC HOLIDAYS AND TAKE OVER THE SCHOOLS. THE MAYOr is satan incarnate