Group seeks to get Muslim holiday recognized on Montgomery Co. s - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Group seeks to get Muslim holiday recognized on Montgomery Co. school calendar

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A group of Muslims in Montgomery County is once again asking for Muslim holidays to be added to the public school calendar.

They say the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, both fall on the same day next school year and both should be recognized.

Saqib Ali said it is no fun not having a school holiday for the holidays you celebrate.

"It's just the feeling of being a little bit of an outsider,” he said.

Ali is a co-chair of the Equality For Eid Coalition.

Eid al-Adha is the holiday that celebrates Muslims’ pilgrimage to Mecca. They want schools to recognize it.

"What I call it is two religions, one holiday -- unequal treatment,” said Ali.

Next year, Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha fall on the same day on September 23. Now, some Muslims want both holidays listed on the calendar.

"I want it to say Yom Kippur/Eid Al-Adha -- no more no less,” Ali said.

He has tried and failed before to have Muslim holidays added to the Montgomery County Public Schools calendar. And while a draft calendar for 2015 was given to the school board last week, Eid Al-Adha was noted on the holiday, but it remains solely as Yom Kippur.

One thing you need to know about this is Montgomery County Public Schools said they believe this entire discussion is premature because the calendar for the 2015-2016 school year won't be decided until November.

How many students would take a holiday is a key factor. In a statement, school officials wrote, “Under state law, MCPS must have an operational reason for closing schools -- such as attendance -- and cannot close schools only for religious reasons.”

Should schools start including Muslim holidays on their calendars? We found some people are opposed to the idea.

"That would start a flood, you know?” said resident Richard Hughes. “With Buddhists and the Seventh-day Adventists and then just everybody.”

Others said including everyone is the right thing to do.

"I think it should be included if it doesn't take anything else off the calendar,” said Bridget Lambert.

Ali said if students are being taught inclusion, school officials could set an example by practicing inclusion in naming holidays.

"Why not put it on the calendar? Who's it going to hurt?" Ali asked.

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