According to The Muslim Link, Sumayyah McTaggart of Great Falls, Iman Hazer of Dunn-Loring and Fatimah Dandashi of Falls Church created the petition for a civics class assignment as they all attend Compass Homeschooling Enrichment in Oakton. The class had been assigned a project to create a government petition surrounding an issue of their choice.
As the students said that they were concerned about having to attend class on Eid al-Adha last October, a Muslim observance that centers on Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, they decided to petition for recognition of Islamic holidays.
“We knew each other from the masjid. I used to attend the masjid that Fatima currently attends,” McTaggart told the publication. “We all ended up in the same civics class and petitioned the government to recognize our holidays in public school.”
The petition, posted on the White House website, calls upon Barack Obama to work toward greater inclusiveness in the nation, asserting that some Muslims must choose between their religion of their education on Islamic holidays.
“With the growing population of Muslims in the United States of America (including first, second, third, and fourth generation) we believe it is high time that Muslim holidays are recognized by schools throughout this nation,” the petition reads. “Unfortunately many Muslim families are forced to choose between their children’s education and their religious obligations.”
“Muslim school children and staff deserve the same benefits afforded to the followers of other faiths,” it continues. “We call on President Obama to support this petition and advance the inclusiveness of our great nation.”
As of press time, the petition, entitled “Support the movement of having Muslim holidays recognized in the school year, throughout the United States of America,” had generated 46,949 signatures. However, as the White House requires at least 100,000 signatures within a 30-day period—which ends today for the students—the petition falls short of more than half of the needed support.
The White House reportedly considers all petitions that meet this requirement, but is not obligated to issue a response.
“We would hope that White House responds,” McTaggart stated. “We would all like to request Fairfax County to recognize Eid as a public holiday. We would like them to take the day off. The White House petition is an effort for publicity, to show the Fairfax county board of education how many people support the idea.”
Reaction to the matter has been mixed.
“What about Jewish holidays?” one commenter asked. “What about all the other religions?”
“What is stopping people from taking a day off to observe whatever religious holiday they choose? The entire country does not need to observe the holiday,” another wrote. “If you have 1-3% missing a day of school or work, I doubt much will be missed.”
“Liberals’ heads explode if the Bible is even mentioned in a classroom. No court is too big to outlaw displays of the 10 Commandments on behalf of one little girl’s complaint,” a third noted, adding with sarcasm, “But by all means, lets accommodate these little Muslims with their religion of ‘peace.'”