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Buffalo Muslims Want `Eid Holidays Added to School Calendar

5000 Muslim students in Buffalo Public Schools couldn’t have a day off during the Muslim holidays `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha.

Despite making up a substantial population in the city, they are usually overlooked and their holidays are sidelined.

This is a fact the Buffalo Islamic Cultural Center is trying to change after the president of the center sent a letter to Lovejoy Common Council Member Bryan Bollman about the idea of closing the public schools on the Muslim holy days.

📚 Read Also: NY Students Petition for Cancelling Classes During `Eid

“In a country where such diversity exists and religious freedoms is a fundamental value, it is necessary to provide accommodations for all religious groups,” he said in his letter, The Buffalo News reported.

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“Muslim students deserve the chance to practice their faith and to gather with their families without the pressure of school, exams, responsibilities, or the fear of penalization for celebrating.”

Students’ Right

`Eid Al-Fitr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice”.

The Islamic Hijri Calendar is a lunar one, thus the observance of `Eid Al-Fitr revolves throughout the seasons.

New York City public schools added the two Muslim holidays to its holiday schedule in 2016.

Students in cities in Michigan and New Jersey also have the days off, and Islamic newcomers to Buffalo question why the same doesn’t happen in Buffalo.

“So we said, ‘Why not let us do this since lots of people are asking?’ ” said Abul Hoque, an intern in Bollman’s office who also works at Buffalo Islamic Cultural Center.

“The City of Buffalo is the second largest city in the state. Why not go ahead? Let’s see. Let us give a try.”

A growing number of American school districts have begun to recognize the Muslim holidays.

In 2021, Lewiston Maine added the Islamic holidays to the public schools calendar, allowing Muslim students to celebrate their holiday normally.  

The Baltimore County Board of Education approved unanimously in November, 2019, to close public schools for students on `Eid holidays when they land on a school day.