NYC Candidates Back Muslim Holidays for Schools

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New York City public schools may see two Muslim holidays added to their calendar.

The city's only Muslim councilman, Robert Jackson, has been pushing for years to add Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the school calendar.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha celebrates what Muslims say was Abraham's sacrifice of Ishmael, Abraham's son by Sarah's Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. The Book of Genesis says Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac instead (see Gen. 22), which the Bible calls the "son of promise."

Now both candidates for New York City mayor -- Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota -- have endorsed the proposal.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations also wants Muslim holidays added to America's public schools.

"Parents should not be forced to choose between religious observance or the education of their children simply because they're of a different faith,"al-Jazeera quoted Zainab Chaudry, vice president of CAIR's Maryland chapter.

Those who oppose the move argue it would require adding holidays and cultural celebrations of other faiths to public school calendars.

Other proposals include the Chinese New Year and the Hindu holiday of Diwali, an official holiday in India.

U.S. cities that already have large Muslim populations, like Dearborn, Mich., have added three days to their school calendars for Islamic holidays. Some school districts in Massachusetts and Vermont allow at least one day for Muslim holidays.

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