- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New York City public schools will add the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the official calendar, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

The move will make New York City the largest school district in the nation to recognize the two holidays on the official school calendar, Bloomberg reported.

“This is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Hundreds of thousands of Muslim families will no longer have to choose between honoring the most sacred days on their calendar or attending school.”

The Democratic mayor made the announcement at PS/IS 30 in Brooklyn, where officials said 36 percent of students were absent the last time Eid al-Adha fell on a school day.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, who joined Mr. de Blasio for the announcement, said the day off could be used as a “teachable moment” for educating students on the meaning of the holidays, Bloomberg reported.

Muslim leaders welcomed the announcement.

“After years of advocating by New York City’s Muslim community, Muslim public school students will finally and thankfully no longer be penalized for observing their religious holidays,” said Zead Ramadan, a board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Associated Press reported.

The city joins other school districts in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey that close public schools in observance of Muslim holidays.

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