New York City public schools will start observing two of Islam’s most important holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing an announcement to be delivered by the city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio.
According to the newspaper, the changes to the school calendar are in line with de Blasio’s election pledge to better integrate and represent the city’s increasing Muslim population, which is estimated at between 600,000 and 1 million. New York City public schools already recognise several Jewish and Christian holidays.
In a post on Twitter prior to the announcement, de Blasio said the new policy will represent “a change that respects the diversity of our city.”
A 2008 study carried out by Columbia University showed that around 10 percent of New York City public-school children were Muslim, and that about 95 percent of Muslim children in the city attend public schools.
Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, commemorates a pivotal event shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: the willingness of Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son to God.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of fasting for Ramadan, which is signaled by the sighting of the crescent moon.
Muslim community leaders have called on the city to add the two holidays to the school calendar for years.
Date created : 2015-03-04