“Equality 4 Eid Coalition” Rally (Video)

UPDATED
Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal joined the Equality 4 Eid Coalition and other community leaders on Sept. 23 to urge Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff and students—Muslim and non-Muslim—to stay home from school on Tuesday, Oct. 15 to help celebrate the holiday Eid al-Adha in solidarity with their Muslim friends.

You can watch the press conference here:

The rally is part of the efforts of the Equality 4 Eid Coalition to answer the Montgomery County Board of Education, which has stated it needed evidence of student and staff absences that would impact the delivery of instruction before it could evaluate whether schools should be closed to honor the Muslim religious holiday.

There are two major holidays on the Muslim calendar. Eid al-Fitr is a celebration to mark the end of the month of Ramadan. Over the next three years, Eid al-Fitr will fall in summer, when schools are closed. Eid al-Adha, which marks the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, will falls on autumn dates over the next three years.

“Currently, the thousands of Muslim MCPS staff members and students have to choose between their education and observing their religious practices,” said Leventhal, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “They either skip school to celebrate Eids or they skip their religious observances to attend school. Many choose to do the latter. However, this is not a choice that our Christian and Jewish neighbors face on their holidays. I intend to keep my own son home from school on Oct. 15 as a sign of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and I urge parents from all religious and spiritual backgrounds to do the same.”

A MCPS student who stays out of school to observe the holiday and provides a note from a parent or guardian within three days of the student’s return to school, indicating that they were absent for a religious holiday, will be granted an excused absence, regardless of their own personal faith.

For many Muslims, their current choice on Eid al-Adha is to attend religious services at a mosque in the mornings and then come to school late.

The coalition said that it has found at least six school districts in the U.S. that close for the Muslim holiday. They are Burlington, Vt., Cambridge, Mass., Dearborn, Mi.; Paterson, N.J.; Skokie, Ill.; and Trenton, N.J.

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Tamika Smith

About Tamika Smith

Tamika Smith is passionate and curious about the world. She often wonders what motivates people to walk in their particular journeys in life. A native of Miami, Florida Smith graduated from Howard University in 2007 and continues to give back through mentorship.

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