No matter which candidate wins the New York City mayoral election — Democrat Bill de Blasio or Republican Joe Lhota — the fate of Muslim students is the city school's system seems clear: They will have their holy days declared holidays.
Both candidates said at a campaign event for Muslim Americans at Columbus Park in the borough of Brooklyn on Wednesday that schools should close for two of Islam's holiest days, Eit al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the New York Daily News reported.
It's a matter of "respect," Mr. de Blasio said, referring to the 13 percent of city students who claim affiliation with the Muslim faith.
"The origins of this nation [are] people of many different faiths coming together," he said, as the Daily News reported. "That's why we have to respect Muslim faiths by providing the Eid school holidays for children in our school system."
Not to be outdone, Mr. Lhota said he has been calling for the Islam-based school closings for his entire 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," he said, the paper reported. He also added: "We're not going to lose the school days. 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."
The two holy days fall on different times in different years, but they sometimes conflict with mandated state-wide school tests in New York. Mr. de Blasio said that that conflict wasn't acceptable and that students shouldn't be put in a position to choose their educational career over their religion.
"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," he said, the outlet reported. "They can't do both under our current system."
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