For whatever reason, assimilating growing Muslim populations into American communities seems to pose special challenges for school schedules – holidays in particular.
In 2014, as LU reported here, Muslims’ complaints about being left out of a Maryland school district’s holiday calendar got Christian and Jewish holidays bumped from it.
New York City, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, took a different tack for the 2015 school year. Howard Portnoy posted that update in March: NYC schools would take off for the Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha occurs on the Thursday (September 24) this year, and last week, another school district, in Jersey City, NJ, was wrestling with a short-notice proposal to make the day an official school holiday.
Jersey City has a relatively large population of Muslims, which officials acknowledged. But besides the problem of declaring a district-wide holiday only seven days in advance, the school board was fielding concerns from Jewish residents, who don’t get school holidays for their Rosh Hashanah (New Year) or Yom Kippur celebrations in September.
From the reports about the Jersey City school board meeting, it sounds like the local officials are friendly to the idea of expanding the holiday calendar. But they want to arrange it further in advance, partly so that the district’s thousands of children and parents won’t have to scramble for alternative plans on short notice.
Of course, no one is prohibited from taking an excused absence to observe a religious holiday – which is what Jews have been doing in many school districts for decades. Reportedly, school officials stressed that point to the concerned citizens.
But that didn’t satisfy a group of Muslims at the Jersey City school board meeting last week. Video (below) has surfaced of simmering anger among some of them, including an individual who had to be escorted out by security. A child, balked of her hoped-for holiday, wept dramatically. Some people stalked out during the meeting.
One man declared passionately: “We feel alienated from the Board of Education, we feel alienated from this system!”
And a woman speaking at the microphone warned:
We’re no longer the minority. That’s clear from tonight. We’re going to be the majority soon.
Which is an interesting thing to say at a school board meeting, when you want to add a holiday to the district calendar.
(H/t: Gateway Pundit)