(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/12/2014) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed â€œdisappointmentâ€ with the Montgomery County Public Schools' Board of Education's decision to remove reference to all religious holidays from the 2015-16 school calendar rather than accommodate CAIR and the Equality for Eid Coalition's request to grantÂ Muslim holidays equal billingÂ as the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.Â
CAIR: Maryland School District Strikes Christmas and Hanukkah from Calendar after Requests for Religious Equality
CAIR: School Board Yanks Christmas from Calendar After Muslims Ask for Their Own Holiday Off
Holiday's Names Stricken From Next Year's Montgomery Schools Calendar (Washington Post)Â
Witnesses who spoke in support of recognizing the Eid holiday at theÂ packed hearing yesterdayÂ included County Councilmember George Leventhal, CAIRâ€™s Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry, a Rabbi from Faith Community Working Group, Susan Kerin of Pax Christi Catholic Church, and many others.Â After listening toÂ theÂ testimonies, the board deliberated for than two hours before voting to remove all religiousÂ references from the 2015-16 school calendar.Â
In a statement, CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry said:
“We're very disappointed thatÂ the board would take suchÂ drastic measuresÂ to deny fair and equitable treatment for the county'sÂ Muslim population. The Muslim community has been struggling for years to obtain equality for the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha holidays. There's no justice inÂ robbing other faith communities of their holidays in order to deny Muslims equal accommodation. We believe yesterdayâ€™s decisionÂ doesn't solve the problem,Â as schools would still not be closed in observance of Muslim holidays unless they happen to coincidentallyÂ land on a weekend or other holiday.”
[NOTE: Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or â€œfeast of fast breaking,â€ marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), comes near the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.]
Chaudry added that the Muslim community plans to be part of the conversation as theÂ boardÂ decides on holidayÂ inclusion criteria in anticipation ofÂ futureÂ requests for dates to be added to schoolÂ calendars.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, email@example.comâ€‹