(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/9/14) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today submitted testimony to Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr and the Board of Education seeking recognition of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha on the 2015-16 school calendar.
The school board met today in Rockville, Md., to discuss items of public interest and is expected to vote on the school calendar later this fall. Montgomery County Muslims have been seeking inclusion of the Eid holiday for over a decade.
SEE: Area Muslims Seek Varied Educational Alternatives (Washington Diplomat)
Muslim Leaders Seek Equal Billing with Jewish Holiday on Montgomery School Calendar (Washington Post)
CAIR's testimony read in part:
"Federal law grants Americans the right to equal and fair treatment and reasonable religious accommodation in the school place regardless of faith. Montgomery County is widely known to pride itself on being diverse and tolerant. This makes it even more troubling that the American Muslim community here continues to be marginalized and treated differently.
"In 2015, Eid al-Adha falls on September 23rd. Schools will be closed in observance of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, and the MCPS school calendar will state this. However, a significant number of students will also be celebrating Eid al-Adha on this same day.
"In the interest of fairness and equality, we respectfully urge that the Board of Education not marginalize these students, and instead acknowledge on the MCPS school calendar that schools are closed for Eid al-Adha in addition to Yom Kippur.
"We understand that this is a symbolic move, but it is one that would send a strong message that Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr and the Board of Education treats its students equally regardless of faith."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry, email@example.com, 443-823-7816; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org