CAIR-CT Welcomes Recognition of Muslim Holidays on School Calendar

HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) today welcomed a decision by the New London Board of Education to recognize the two major Muslim holidays, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, by including them on the school calendar along with all other major religious holidays.

[NOTE: Eid ul-Adha ("festival of the sacrifice") comes near the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid ul-Fitr ("feast of fast breaking") marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. CAIR's Maryland chapter recently urged schools in that state to recognize Muslim holidays. Video: CAIR-MD Seeks Equal School Holiday Rights for Muslim Students, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZTNqOVdSzI ]

CAIR-CT said the board's president directed the superintendent of schools to advise all teachers and educators in New London schools not to schedule tests or special events like field trips on those days to ensure that students who are celebrating their holidays would not miss tests and important activities.

The decision came September 26 after CAIR-CT raised the issue with the New London board prior to its Thursday meeting. Muslim parents spoke out during public comments and thanked board members for responding positively to CAIR-CT's request. The decision passed without any objections from board members or the public.

Natasha Ahmed, a member of the Islamic Center of New London and a parent to two school-age children, said: "We thank the New London Board of Education for embracing and recognizing our Muslim holidays. This means a lot to me my kids and our community."

CAIR-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi spoke during the board meeting and said in part: "This speaks volume of the nature of our diverse city that fosters a sense of understanding and acceptance toward its Muslim members. We hope that our community here in New London will serve as a model to others around the state and the nation."

He noted that in Alabama, the introduction of an Arabic language course in a high school resulted in an anti-Islam backlash.

Islamophobia Watch: Arabic Language Class at Daphne High Teaches 'Culture of Hate'
http://blog.al.com/live/2013/10/arabic_foreign_language_class.html

Dhaouadi said CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

SEE: An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices
http://www.cair.com/images/pdf/educators_guide.pdf

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi, 860-514-8038, Email: mdhaouadi@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com 

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations



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