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CAIR Welcomes Recognition of Muslim, Jewish School Holidays in Iowa

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/14/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a decision to recognize the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER) in Iowa.

Yesterday, the Iowa City school board voted to unanimously to change the 2021-2022 school calendar to include days off on Eid al-Fitr and on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

The push for a Muslim holiday came from Reem Kirja, an eighth-grade student in Coralville, Iowa, who petitioned the district to include Eid al-Fitr and the other major Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha would be celebrated in July 2022.

In her address to the board Tuesday night, Kirja said: “The (Iowa City Community School District) is a strong community full of diversity and inclusion, which is why I think that adding a break for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha is essential to strengthening our community bond. The (Iowa City school district) encourages tolerance and acceptance — but to be able to fully claim that, we need to revise our calendar.”

SEE: Iowa City Schools to take days off for Muslim and Jewish holidays, following student-led campaign

Iowa City school board takes historic vote, adds days off for Eid al-Fitr, Yom Kippur

ICCSD votes to add additional holidays to the 2021-2022 calendar

Iowa City Schools to take days off for Muslim and Jewish holidays, following student-led campaign

“We welcome the decision to allow Muslim and Jewish students to mark these important religious holidays and thank the student whose determination led to this positive outcome,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Respect for diversity sends a strong message to students and staff that everyone is welcomed and valued.”

He noted that CAIR welcomed similar recent decisions in Virginia, Maine and Pennsylvania.

SEE: CAIR-Pittsburgh Welcomes Recognition of Eid al-Fitr as School Vacation Day

CAIR Welcomes Recognition of Muslim School Holidays in Maine

CAIR Welcomes N. Virginia School Board Approving Days Off for Religious Holidays

Hooper added that CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

SEE: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices


Eid al-Fitr or “feast of fast breaking” holiday comes at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. During the holiday, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds and greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning “blessed Eid,” and “taqabbalallah ta’atakum,” or “may God accept your deeds.” Many communities also held multicultural bazaars and other family activities following communal prayers.

Eid al-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid al-Adha, comes near the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.     

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.    


CONTACT:  CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 

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