NEW ROCHELLE – The Islamic holiday of `Eid Al-Fitr has been added to the school district’s calendar next year in New Rochelle, a first for the American city and the region of Westchester County in New York.
“It just seemed like an oversight on the part of the district that it hadn’t been done. As I became more involved in the district, I saw there was a growing Muslim population that was advocating for it,” Amy Moselhi, a Muslim member of New Rochelle’s Board of Education, told lohud on May 8.
Moselhi made the request to add `Eid Al-Fitr, a celebration marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, to the official school holiday. In response, the board voted unanimously in favor of the request.
Moselhi who is a parent of a 5th-grade student said: “Parents used to have to pull their kids from school to observe the holiday. Finally, they won’t have to miss a day of instruction.”
In 2019, `Eid Al-Fitr will fall on June 5, which will be the first year the district observes the holiday.
The Islamic Hijri Calendar follows the moon’s cycles, which differs from the solar Gregorian calendar. As a result, the Hijri holidays land on different school days each Gregorian year.
“`Eid Al-Fitr is about being with friends and family and exchanging gifts. Muslims dress in their best clothing, attend a morning prayer, share sweet foods and celebrate,” Mohamed Shaffieq Chace, an imam at the Islamic Center of New Rochelle, said.
According to an official statement by Westchester County, New Rochelle’s district is the first in Westchester and Rockland counties to make `Eid Al-Fitr a school holiday. New York City and Syosset school districts also observe the date.
A 2014 report from Pew Research Center found that Muslims represent 2% of the population of New York State which has a total population of 20 million people.