CNN Blogger: NYC Students Should be Required to Miss School for Muslim Holidays

In recent months, the media has dedicated a great deal of attention to the proposal to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero of the September 11 attacks. Yet, a story of equal significance concerning the place of Islam in New York has played out behind the scenes.

In 2009 resolution 1281 was passed by the urging of the special interest group, Coalition for Muslim School Holidays. However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg struck down the decision by refusing to add it to the school calendar.

“Yesterday, the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays held a late morning rally on the steps of New York's City Hall. Hundreds of people attended and even more stood at the gates waiting to get in – a 300 person limit had been placed on the gathering – as politicians, city officials, interfaith leaders and activists spoke from the steps telling Mayor Bloomberg why he should change his mind wrote  Imam Kalid Latif on CNN's “Belief Blog.”

The holidays in question are Eid ul-Fitr, which is the celebration at the end of Ramadan and Eid Ul-Adha which commemorates the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

“The construction of our mosques is protested, our communities are profiled, and our children have to go to school on their holidays,” Latif complained. It was all very heartbreaking, except that he never mentioned the reason for the profiling (that little 9-11 incident you might remember), or that every ethnic or religious group in the U.S. gives up something in order to assimilate into American culture.

Bloomberg's reason for refusing was straightforward. He told the New York Times, “Not all religions could be accommodated on the holiday schedule, only those with “a very large number of kids who practice.”

“If you close the schools for every single holiday, there won't be any school, he said. “ Educating our kids requires time in the classroom, and that's the most important thing to us. “

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