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Published On: Mon, Oct 21st, 2013

New York mayoral candidates Joe Lhota, Bill de Blasio both support Muslim holidays for public school students

Public schools in New York may be getting a few more days off as both remaining candidates for mayor support the move to honor two major Muslim holidays.

Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate, and Joe Lhota, the Republican, have said Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha should be added to the holiday calendar along with other major religious observations, including Christmas, Good Friday, and Rosh Hashanah, the New York Daily News reports.

cover of a Quran  photo by crystalina  via wikimedia commons

cover of a Quran photo by crystalina via wikimedia commons

“The origins of this nation (are) people of many different faiths coming together … That’s why we have to respect Muslim faiths by providing the Eid school holidays for children in our school system,” de Blasio said.

Calling it “respect” for 13% of the student population, de Blasio sees the move as a no-brainer.

“A child who has an exam on a day that right now is one of the Eid holidays, they’re either respecting their religious obligation or they’re doing what their education requires of them,” de Blasio said. “They can’t do both under our current system.”

The GOP candidate has been calling for to close schools on the two days throughout his campaign. “We have a growing Muslim community in the city of New York and their religion needs to be respected as all other religions are respected,” Lhota said.

“We’re not going to lose the school days,” he added. “We’ll have to extend the school days by those two days. But nonetheless those who are Muslim will be allowed to have that day off to celebrate their holidays.”

Advocates have been pushing for the city to give kids the days off for years, but faced strong opposition from Mayor Bloomberg, who raised concerns that adding Muslim holidays to the school calendar would open the door to a flood of similar requests from other religious and ethnic groups.

The city’s school calendar currently has 13 days off for kids, including the Rosh Hashana Jewish New Year and Good Friday.

Since the current school calendar includes no Muslim holidays, many parents who practice the faith are forced to keep their kids home from school on their holy days.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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