US Muslim holidays called "eid" might close some schools in Maryland and other states in order to honor Islamic traditions.
The Muslims argue that schools in the area already close on Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.
Muslims have two eid celebrations this time of year. The word "eid" can be translated as "celebration" or "festival." The first of the two Christmas season US Muslim holidays is the three-day Eid Al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan. The three-day Eid Al-Adha commemorates Abraham sacrificing his son Ishmael, while the Bible says it was Isaac, not Ishmael, who was featured in this important event. Eid Al-Adha also marks the end of Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
The Islamic calendar is different from the world's standard Gregorian calendar and thus these US Muslim holiday do not fall on the same days each year, although typically they occur in the Christmas season. In 2013, Eid Al-Fitr took place on August 8 while Eid Al-Adha will begin at sundown on October 15.
Despite the school calendar's conflicts with US Muslim holidays, the Muslims in Maryland argue that "pre-existing school closings could be moved to coincide with Eid holidays." The Muslims believe that it's only fair to celebrate US Muslim holidays within American schools since they already close to celebrate Christian and Jewish holidays:
"Currently the thousands of Muslim MCPS staff and students have to choose between their education and observing their religious practices. This is not a choice that our Christian and Jewish neighbors face on their holidays."Muslim students in Maryland are already given excused absences and teachers try to not schedule any tests that happen to coincide with US Muslim holidays. Currently, Maryland state law only allows school districts to close only for secular purposes. Muslims are asking that winter breaks be shortened to allow these extra US Muslim holidays. When Muslims in other states like Florida asked schools to close for US Muslim holidays, some objected, claiming the "group promoting and asking for this is associated with terrorism."
Do you think American school systems should close to honor US Muslim holidays?