US Muslims Want Islamic Holidays on School Calendar

  • Muslim leaders are asking for more days off from school so their kids can take part in faith-based holidays
  • Parents say there’s a constant struggle each spring to figure out what to put first: their studies or their faith

WAKE, North Carolina – A group of Muslim leaders in Wake County in North Carolina, the US, is asking for the recognition of Muslim holidays on the official school calendar in order for their kids to have the right to participate in their religious holidays, Spectrum Local News reported on October 29.

“It’s difficult for them to miss school. Some schools give excused absences but still school is in session so kids are missing instructional time,” Mariya Shaikh, mother of three kids at Wake School said.

The request was made due to the Muslim parents’ being exhausted in continuous struggle each spring to get the right of their children to attend the Islamic feasts with them instead of spending these holidays at school.

“I like celebrating with my family, I like doing things with my friends, I like dressing up. I think anyone would want to resonate with the fact that you want to celebrate a holiday,” said a student named Zainab Baloch.

The school district says they are aware of the online petition going around by the parents, which as of Monday had more than 3,700 signatures. The officials informed they’re working to see if a Muslim Imam can serve on a committee to plan the 2020-2021 school year calendar.

In fact, the two Muslim holidays are `Eid Al-Fitr which is a single day that celebrates the end of Ramadan fasting. The other feast is `Eid Al-Adha, a three-day festivity that marks the beginning of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.

Both of the holidays occur on dates in the Hijri calendar, which is lunar, and thus their dates in the Gregorian calendar, which is solar, change each year.

The Gregorian calendar is based on the orbital period of the Earth’s revolution around the Sun, approximately 365 1⁄4 days, while the Hijri calendar is based on the synodic period of the Moon’s revolution around the Earth, approximately 29 1⁄2 days.

The Hijri calendar alternates months of 29 and 30 days (which begin with the new moon). Twelve of these months constitute a Hijri year, which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year.