Muslims in Maryland are hoping to have their major holidays acknowledged in the same way that Easter Monday and Rosh Hashanah are celebrated.
The two most important Islamic holidays —Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha — are not currently recognized, which makes celebrating them quite difficult.
Mimi Hassanein, of Brinkow, Md., says that children in her school district have to choose between celebrating what they believe in and doing well in the classroom. “Of course it’s hard when they miss a class and have to make up an exam,” Hassanein said. “But it’s like asking them to go to school on Christmas.”
The Montgomery County Public School system currently closes classes for Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Passover.
In an attempt to add the two Eids to the list of recognized holidays, Hassanein and other Muslim activists have started the Equality 4 Eid campaign.
According to the group’s website: “The Equality For Eid Coalition is a community-based coalition of concerned citizens seeking equal treatment for the thousands of Muslim students and staff in the Montgomery County Public School system. This coalition contains Montgomery County parents, students, school staff, businesses, non-profit organizations and other residents.”
Eid- al Fitr is a festival that breaks the month-long fast for Ramadan. Eid al-Adha celebrates the Hajj pilgrimage, The New York Daily News reported.
Saqib Ali, Equality 4 Eid’s co-chair, has been keeping his daughter home from school so she can celebrate the holidays. He isn’t happy about it though. “People of other faiths don’t have to make that choice,” Ali said.
“My Christian friends have Christmas off,” said the president of Montgomery County’s Muslim Student Association, Anhar Karim. “This is our holiday, but we have to leave school and miss exams to celebrate it.”