Montgomery County Schools consider adding Muslim holidays - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Montgomery County Schools consider adding Muslim holidays

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. -

There are an estimated 250 thousand Muslims in the DC area,but right now, no Washingtonarea schools close on Muslim holidays.

A Montgomery County Councilman wants to change that, andhe's already gotten a response from the Superintendent.

Councilman George Leventhal (D-At Large) says it isn't fairthat Montgomery County Schools close for some religious holidays for some faithsand not others, so he asked the board to consider closing schools for twoimportant Muslim holidays.

"These are the two holiest days for Muslims. Eids, whichmeans festival, Eid-ul-Adha and Edi-ul-Fitr.

The request is getting mixed reviews.

"As a Jew, I think it's important that all religiousfaiths are recognized by the school system," Stephanie Rubin says.

"It sort of depends on how much of a disruption there is tothe school calendar, and how many Muslim students and teachers, and staff wouldwant to take off on these holidays," David Rubin said.

But there are opponents who say students miss enough classtime already without adding two Muslim holidays into the mix.

"Schools are closed for the primary Christian and Jewishholidays. We're talking about one day-- Eid ul-adha which I don't think wouldbe inconvenient or burdensome." Leventhal says.

For the next several years, Eid-ul Fitr falls in August andwouldn't affect the school year, Leventhal says.

Leventhal received a letter from Superintendent Joshua StarrFriday.  Starr writes, "It is extremelydifficult to consider all of the potential holidays as school closings in sucha diverse community as Montgomery County. MCPS gladly wouldwelcome a representative from the Muslim community to serve on the schoolcalendar committee work group."

A move Ronit Eisenbach says presents a teachable moment tothe county's students.

"I think in this day and age and all that represents the U.S., it makesa lot of sense," Eisenbach says.

Even if the school calendar committee were to approve theMuslim holidays as days off from school, it wouldn't happen next year. Thecalendar is already set.  The earliest itcould happen would be during the 2014 school year. The committee will startworking on that in November.

People interested in being part of the school calendarcommittee work group should email Ms Robin Confino at: Robin_Confino@mcpsmd.org.


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