In the Name of "Fairness:" Mohammedans Demand NYC Public Schools "Respect" 2 Annual Islamic Holidays

Staten Island Muslims take part in City Hall rally asking schools to recognize 2 holidays

Silive/com/via ZIP

“It’s just a matter of fairness. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the city, why shouldn’t we have the same rights as other religions?” said Ms. Aketer, who wears a traditional hijab, or headscarf.

“The signs say it all. We just want to be recognized, included and respected like any other groups,” El-Meligy said.

Ya think?

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NEW YORK — Missing two days of school each year didn’t really hurt St. George resident Khaleda Aketer’s academic career.

But that’s not the reason the recent graduate of Curtis High School was standing on the steps of City Hall today to press the city schools to recognize her religion’s two holiest days.

“It’s just a matter of fairness. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the city, why shouldn’t we have the same rights as other religions?” said Ms. Aketer, who wears a traditional hijab, or headscarf.

The rally marked the one-year anniversary of a City Council resolution that asked the Department of Education (DOE) to include two Muslim holidays, known as the Eids, in the official school holiday calendar.

But Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has the final say in which holidays are approved, said “no”- and he hasn’t changed his mind.

Ms. Aketer was joined by dozens of others – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – who are part of a broad coalition supporting the effort. Many held aloft signs with the words “recognition, inclusion and respect” next to an “I love NY” logo.

The words mark a familiar refrain for Muslims on Staten Island, where they have been clashing with members of the Midland Beach community over a planned mosque and community center.

Hesham El-Meligy, a New Springville resident and head of the Coalition of Muslim School Holidays, said the issues are separate, even if the broader goals are the same.

“The signs say it all. We just want to be recognized, included and respected like any other groups,” El-Meligy said.

The school calendar recognizes major Christian and Jewish holy days like Christmas and Yom Kippur, but no Muslim holidays.

The Council’s resolution would have added Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting, and Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Under current DOE policy, Muslim students are allowed excused absences for those days, but have to make arrangements with teachers to make up the class work. When asked about the proposal again today, Bloomberg maintained his earlier position.

“I’m sympathetic that they would like it, but the truth of the matter is, we need more school days, not less,” the mayor said.

About 120,000 of the school’s 1.1 million students are Muslim, according to 2008 study by Columbia University’s Teachers College. It is unclear how many of those students are in Island schools – though El-Meligy estimates the Island’s Muslim population at about 25,000 to 35,000.

“The Muslim community (on Staten Island) is growing rapidly. And it’s not just overseas. They are coming from other boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens,” said El-Meligy, who is originally from Cairo, Egypt.

El-Meligy said he is confident the DOE will eventually consent to their wishes, if not under Bloomberg then his successor. He is also confident that Islanders will also set aside their fears and preconceptions and accept the burgeoning Muslim community.

“I don’t think it’s a problem,” he said. “In time, people will get to know us better.”

Most people I know learned everything they needed to know about Islam on 9/11….

7 thoughts on “In the Name of "Fairness:" Mohammedans Demand NYC Public Schools "Respect" 2 Annual Islamic Holidays”

  1. It will not stop with a couple of muslim “holy days” – it will progress to a complete change of times and laws – 2010 Anno Domini will have to go.

    “And he will say words against the Most High, attempting to put an end to the saints of the Most High; and he will have the idea of changing times and law; and the saints will be given into his hands for a time and times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)

    The UN & OIC will be champing at the bit to bring it about in the name of “diversity”, “social inclusion”, “interfaith dialogue” and all the rest.

  2. We’re all goin’ on a muslim holiday
    So show us recognition, inclusion and respect
    We love New York so much it’ll blow you away
    If we can commandeer a jet.

  3. Unreasonable demands simply beget more unreasonable demands until the rest of us are living under Sharia.

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