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CAIR-NY: Bill Prevents Exams on Religious Holidays

CAIR-NY: BILL PREVENTS EXAMS ON RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS

(NEW YORK, NY, 7/10/06) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed passage of a bill in the New York State Legislature that prevents scheduling statewide school exams on religious holidays.

CAIR-NY said the legislation is a victory for religious freedom and civil rights in New York, particularly for the Muslim community. Earlier this year, Muslim students in New York were not able to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, one of two main Islamic holidays, due to state mandated exams which coincided with the event.

Following that incident, CAIR-NY, the New York City Human Rights Commission and other advocacy groups began an initiative to ensure religious freedoms were upheld in New York public schools.

“All students should to be able to observe their religion without worrying about jeopardizing their education,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Nadia Mohammad. “The passing of this bill is a positive first step toward gaining recognition of Islamic holidays in New York public schools.”

Originally drafted by State Senator John D. Sabini (D/WFP-Jackson Heights), the bill was to block testing during the Muslim holidays of Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr. The bill was later amended to include all religious holidays and passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly.

The legislation was carried in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry (D-Corona) and co-sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan (D-Ridgewood). It is currently awaiting the signature of Governor George E. Pataki.

CAIR-NY will be continuing its dialogue with state legislators and with New York City Mayor’s office in its effort to address accommodations for religious holidays in public schools.

CONTACT: Nadia Mohammad, 212-870-2002, civilrights@cair-ny.org

 

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