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In an effort to bolster support for closing Baltimore County schools for Muslim observances, the president of the Baltimore chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent an e-mail yesterday to hundreds of local Muslims to encourage them to attend Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Bash Pharoan, who since 2004 has led the effort to close schools for Islamic religious observances, maintains that it would be only fair to give the same consideration to Muslim observances that has been extended to Jewish and Christian holidays.

He said next week’s show of solidarity would be an appeal to Superintendent Joe A. Hairston, who is expected to present a proposed calendar for the 2008-2009 school year during the board’s May 8 meeting.

“This will be a community appeal to the Board of Education, and especially to Dr. Hairston,” Pharoan said. “My goal is for them to show their love for being Americans and residents of Baltimore County and their wishes to be included in the school system on equal footing with other religions.”


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