Officials from the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York have turned down a demand made by Muslim students to change the date of their senior prom because the dates conflicted with their observance of Ramadan. According to a Fox News report, a group of students, a majority of them Muslim, had started an online petition on Change.org asking school authorities to change the date of their senior prom- scheduled for June 3 – to be postponed to some other date. This move, according to them was to ensure that Muslim students who are fasting during Ramadan also get to participate in the event. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims require that they do not consume food or drink from sunrise to sunset. Since the prom was to start at around 7 p.m. on June 3, when the sun is still out, Muslim students demanded that the dates be changed. In the petition, the students also claim that their demands are just because Muslim students make a sizable number at Brooklyn Technical High School.
The petition, which we have reproduced in its entirety below states the following.
“In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on the night of either May 26th or 27th. Brooklyn Tech’s Senior Prom is scheduled for June 3rd, a week into Ramadan. The start of this entails many responsibilities to the participants, and with Tech’s Muslim population being so vast, it is clear the scheduled date will heavily affect the attendance of this significant event of our high school experience. A change to the date, even a week and a half earlier, would allow so many more people to partake. If no action is taken, Senior Prom truly wouldn’t be open to every senior who wants to go.”
So far, more than 250 people have signed the petition of which many students also happen to be non-Muslims. One of the non-Muslim students who was in favor of the dates being postponed wrote the following.
“Everyone should be able to participate in their prom. This school should keep their ethnic population in mind when planning the prom. If not, let the parents know when they enroll their child in your school that you don’t consider Ramadan important in their decision making.”
Another person, also in support wrote this.
“Muslim students deserve to go to prom. They worked so hard these four years, and prom is a once in a lifetime opportunity, don’t take this away from them.”
There were also several comments, some of them offensive, against the petition. One of which we have reproduced below. We have edited out the bit in which the commenter had used abusive language.
It read the following.
“These sand people need to get a grip and learn to assimilate. You have a choice on whether or not you want to come; you have a choice if you want to be religious or not. Prom is not even halal even if its not on Ramadan, you are pretty much seeing women in dresses and out of their ninja costumes and none of the meat was cut in the name of Allah. So stop being whiny and go to the prom.”
Even after considerable media attention and pressure from Muslim student groups, the school eventually decided against changing the prom dates and announced that it would go ahead as scheduled since the event was planned months in advance. They also added that since dinner would be served after 9 p.m, consumption of food should not be a problem. The decision was met with despair from Muslim students who said there are several other rules that come into play during Ramadan and that dinner being served after sundown is not the only issue. Music, for example, which happens to be a major component of any prom, is also not permitted during the time.
“I think it’s kind of unfair because there’s a major population of Muslims at Brooklyn Tech.You’re not supposed to listen to music during Ramadan, so it’s not really allowed,” Pikeeza Shabbir, a student, said.
The news of Muslim students asking for prom dates to be changed comes close on the heels of another report in which a Muslim man who was served pork – which is prohibited in Islam – sued Little Caesars Pizza for $100 million.
[Featured Image by Pexels/Pixabay]