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US College Board Expands Testing Options for Muslim Holiday

The American College Board has decided to expand testing options for Advanced Placement exams to calm concerns about a possible conflict between the exams and the Muslim `Eid Al-Fitr holiday, The Washington Post reported.

“We understand that observant students may not be in school on Thursday, May 13, 2021, and that some schools may choose to close for the holiday,” College Board spokesman Jerome White said in an email.

“Our goal is to provide flexibility in the exam schedule to best support students and schools.”

The move is a step beyond the College Board’s usual approach. It used to provide an alternative testing time for students who miss exams for religious reasons, emergencies or other circumstances.  

“This is a wonderful compromise,” said Zainab Chaudry, director of Maryland outreach for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties and advocacy organization.

“It would give flexibility to local school boards, based on whether they are giving students the day off for the `Eid holiday.”

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Last week, the Baltimore County Board of Education approved unanimously to close public schools for students on `Eid holidays when they land on a school day. 

The long-awaited move comes after 30+ years of advocacy and efforts to seek `Eid equality and on the heels of the county’s first Muslim Student Member of the Board being elected to serve in that capacity. 

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

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

In April 2019, the Detroit school district announced it would be recognizing the Muslim holiday of `Eid Al-Fitr during its adoption of the 2019-20 school year calendar.