(NEW YORK, NY, 1/19/2018) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the alleged harassment of Muslim community members and students attending Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education meetings on January 10 and 17.
During the January 10 discussion about recognizing the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays, one Muslim community member was called a “terrorist” and references were made to the September 11 terror attacks.
Following an almost four-hour discussion, the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education decided to remove the Eid holidays from the district’s calendar.
[NOTE: Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER) 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.]
A text message sent on January 16, urged residents to attend the January 17 meeting, warning that “observance of a Muslim holiday will draw other religious Muslims to the area, which eventually would make our houses value go down, as no decent person would want to buy a house next to that. The demographics will change and our properties will be worthless.”
At the January 17 meeting, one attendee tried to respond to an individual defending the Muslim community, saying “they kill us.” Members of the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education were quick to denounce the anti-Muslim remarks, but declined to reverse their decision on the Eid holidays.
“It’s disgraceful that these anti-Muslim advocates celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by organizing in support of housing segregation,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Our school calendars should reflect the diversity and inclusionary spirit of our state. We applaud those board members who condemned anti-Muslim harassment, but the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education must take this opportunity to stand with Muslim parents and students by recognizing the Eid holidays.”
CAIR has worked on the issue of Eid holidays nationwide.
New Yorkers are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn, Esq., email@example.com, 571-766-6273