Muslim parents and advocates in Waterbury, Connecticut, are asking for public school district to recognize their religious holidays to allow their children to mark the religious festivals with family.
“We want recognition for our holidays, so our families and friends no longer feel invisible inside the walls of our schools,” said Fahd Syed, Vice Chair for the City of Waterbury’s Human Rights Commission, Fox 61 reported.
`Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha are the two most important Islamic celebrations.
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The Islamic Hijri Calendar is a lunar one, thus the observance of `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha revolves throughout the seasons.
Advocates at the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) requested for the two Islamic holidays to be scheduled as official holidays.
“Following other school districts around the state of Connecticut, Waterbury has seen a significant growth in its diversified Muslim populations that include Latino, African American, Pakistani, Indian, Arab, Albanian, and others,” said Jawad Ashraf, Secretary of Waterbury Islamic Cultural Center.
“Due to sheer volume, the Muslim students have often voiced that recognizing their religious holiday is an important step towards providing them a sense of inclusion and parity with others,” he added.
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.
Also, 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.