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Portland Schools Mull Plan to Accommodate Muslim Holiday

Portland Schools Mull Plan to Accommodate Muslim Holiday

PORTLAND – The School Board of Portland in the Northeastern American state of Maine reviewed on January 8 a proposal to change their graduation dates for the city’s three high schools to go in consistency with the Muslim holiday of `Eid Al-Fitr, The Forecaster reported on January 9.

“This year the Muslim feast of `Eid Al-Fitr falls between June 3 and 5 when graduation is typically held. `Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic Hijri month of fasting, and is a major religious holiday,” a memo to the School Board from Superintendent Xavier Botana read.

The Hijri Calendar of Islam is a lunar one, meaning that months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted.

And since this type of calendars is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, `Eid Al-Fitr, as well as all Hijri months, migrate throughout the seasons.

“The Portland Public Schools strives to accommodate the diverse religious beliefs of our students … (and) each year we ask our school leaders to not schedule important school events, activities or exams on (special) holidays,” the memo wrote.

Botana is proposing the high school graduations be moved to June 6. No vote on the change is expected this week since the School Department’s Tuesday discussion was meant to be informational only.

The next School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 15 when a final vote on the rescheduling could take place.

Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon at the Pacific Northwest. As of 2017, Portland had an estimated population of 647,805, making it the 26th-largest city in the USA, and the 2nd-most populous in the Pacific Northwest.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas, Portland has been cited as the least religious city in the USA, with over 42% of residents identifying as religiously unaffiliated.

Out of the 35.89% of the city’s residents who do identify as religious, the population identified as Muslim represent no more than 0.29%.


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