On Thursday, February 5, the Waterbury school board voted to observe two Muslim holidays. According to News-8, the new directive will reportedly be mandated for the upcoming fall semester. The decision follows a 300-signature petition launched by the minority religious group asking the Waterbury School District to honor the request.
Needless to say, some parents in support of the decision have expressed elation over the school board’s decision. One parent in particular also expressed relief over the decision because their children are no longer forced to choose between education and religion.
“I am deeply honored and deeply proud to be a citizen of Waterbury,” said Fahd Syed, a 35-year-old father of four. “My kids don’t have to worry about choosing between their faith and taking a test.”
However, the new ruling to honor Muslim holidays has also been met with opposition. The controversial decision has sparked quite a debate because it shows the hypocrisy of the often-criticized laws regarding the separation of church and state. Most readers are also concerned about the prohibition of Muslim practices in America in the wake of the Paris massacre at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Many have argued that allowing the observance of Muslim holidays in American schools “bends the rules,” and is seemingly contradictory since many Americans stand behind other controversial laws Muslims condemn.
For example, the debatable aspects of free speech led to the massacre in France, so many Americans feel honoring such holidays would only lead to the honoring of other practices and beliefs influenced by the religion. Many also fear that modernized Islamists are using more sophisticated methods to establish Sharia law in the Western world. Instead of focusing on forceful tactics, Muslims are now infiltrating government, media, and educational systems.
Here’s what readers are saying.
“The biggest problem we face in America with this encroachment of Islam and their demands are the people like the people at the school district and these schools principals. They are the ones that we need to direct our anger at and that we will not tolerate this. Go to an Islamic country and see if they can get the schools their to respect and honor Christian or Jewish holidays or Hindu holidays, etc. They will kill you and that is just the cold hard facts!!! These school administrators need to be fired, when the time comes you can bet they will be the first ones hiding behind an American soldier for protection.”
“Liberals keep shouting separation of church and state…so if the Muslims want to stay home on their holiday they can BUT do not bring it into the school unless you let Christians and Jews bring it into the schools. NO prayers and NO to teaching Islam to students…..”
“Not in a million years!!!! They can go back to their country and not have to worry about people not respecting their so called “religion”!!”
“I agree! I would pull my child out of ANY school that tried to do this! It is an ABOMINATION. We are supposed to be “courteous, tolerant, & accommodating” to a religion that has NO tolerance for other beliefs. Smh… This nation is going to H—-IN-A-HAND BASKET while our government sits around on their thumbs doing SQUAT!”
However, Superintendent Dr. Cathleen Ouellette feels otherwise. She sees the observance as a means of respect toward the Muslim culture in an effort to bring peace. She recently released a sensitivity memo in reference to the new directive, explaining how she expects educators to take the Muslim holidays into consideration.
“A sensitivity memo will go out to the district to teachers and staff, asking them to be sensitive to the Muslim holidays in regards to scheduling assessments and major events that happen through the district. It’s just asking the district leaders and teachers, when possible, to schedule major tests and assessments around the Muslim’s high observance holidays.”
How do you feel about schools in the United States honoring Muslim holidays? Share your thoughts.
[Image via Wikipedia]