By Ed Diokno
For the first time at the end of Ramadan, New York City schools, one of the largest districts in the country, will observe a holiday for Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of the holy month. Summer school students will have the day off.
The district is only one of several American schools district that observes two Muslim holy days along with the traditional Christian and Jewish holidays. Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, will be observed on Sept. 24.
The Muslim holidays were approved last year.
“This is a common-sense change,” said Mayor de Blasio, “and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our city.”
The decision affects some 1 million students in New York City. While it’s not known exactly how many of them are Muslim, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said that almost 1 million of the more than 8 million people in the city’s five boroughs practice Islam and a 2009 Columbia University study found that roughly 10 percent of New York City public school students are Muslim.
New York joins several other U.S. school districts observing or considering the Muslim holidays. Last week Philadelphia schools joined the growing number of school districts who have added the Muslim holy days to their calendars.