Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland Closed for Major Muslim Holiday

Najwa Kareem
Posted September 13, 2016 from United States

Like school closings on majorChristian holidays --Christmas, Easter and on majorJewish holidays --Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, yesterday all ofthe public schoolsinMontgomery County, the county I grew up in and a countyknown to be one of the most diverse in the countryclosed yesterday fora major Muslim holiday -- Eid al Adha. This happened for the first time in the county's history. The decision by the school system in November 2015to closeMontgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)for students for Eid ul Fitr and Eid al Adha,the two major Islamic holidays, one of which culminates a month long fast every year and the other at the end of the Hajj orpilgrimage to Meccacame as a result of a two year initiative called Equality for Eid. This initiative involved the hardwork and commitmentofmany concerned parents, students, faculty, staff, clergy,Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-IslamicRelations orCAIR,community members both Muslim and non-Muslim, and others. Advocates of Equality for Eidspoke out against the unfairness of the county'spublic schools beingclosedon majorChristian and Jewish holidays but not being closedon the twomajor Muslim holidays. Advocatesarticulated how this inequality had negative consequences on Muslim students, teachers, and others of the Islamic faith who attend and work in the county's public schools.

I share this news concerning the closing of MCPS for a major Muslim holiday because it is a huge success andbecause I remember beinginvolved in the Equality for Eid initiative 3 years ago. In fact, I was interviewed by two newspaperjournalists on the day of a press conference andrally at the Montgomery County Council Buildingin September 2013. I left work to attend and returned to work afterwardsto finish up my duties for the day. Another reason I share this with you isbecause the decision to close MCPS on Eid days is evidentof the fact that standing up and speaking up for equality, for justice, for one's and other'srights is necessary for change, forthings getting better, andforthe dignity ofall. Thus we should never give up on the power of our voices and our commitment to doing good will.

Yours truly,

Najwa Kareem

To learn more about Equality for Eid and the closing of MCPS for Eid, please view the following.

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