Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina announced that the school calendar will now include two new holidays for Muslims, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr comes at the end of Ramadan and is when the fast is broken and zakat is given, or charity. The holiday of Eid al-Adha is celebrated ten days into Dhu al-Hijjah and is when Muslims have a meal with the meat of a sheep. These holidays are based on lunar orbits, so they do not always fall on the same days.
Muslims welcome the addition, but others do not claiming that it is hard to find a babysitter or someone who will care of their children when they are off from school. In today’s world, both parents are usually at work leaving the children in the care of schools. Moreover, others are concerned that Islam is taking root in American society and can conflict with Americanism.
As a child who went to New York City public schools, I always wondered why we had so many Jewish holidays when there were no Jewish people around me. My classes were mainly composed of Puerto Ricans, African Americans, some Italian, Irish and Mexican. To my knowledge, there were no Jewish students. That being said, I think the school system has too many holidays. Kids today are failing. A good number of them do not know how to read, write or do basic math. While I have respect for all religions, I think they need to understand that education is important. God gave us brains that can do so many wonderful things. We must put these organs to use. I disagree with de Blasio’s decision and hope the matter will be brought up in the future. Man-made religious rituals should not interfere with a child’s education, in my opinion. God only cares about what is in the heart.