School District Sets Muslim Holiday
At its reorganization meeting Tuesday, the Board of Education adopted a calendar for 2008-09 that includes an Oct. 2 closing for Eid Al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Observant Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown during Ramadan and at the end hold a feast.
Board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq sought inclusion of both Eid Al-Fitr and also Eid Al-Adha, a holiday that celebrates those who have made the Hajj, or holy pilgrimage to Mecca.
Abdul-Haqq said Wednesday he would have liked to have both holidays on the calendar, but said because observances are based on a variable lunar calendar, future holidays might happen on times when school is closed anyway.
Abdul-Haqq requested the holiday inclusion at a March BOE meeting, but other board members said the extra days would have to be negotiated with employee bargaining units. Apparently the talks were successful.
Imam Abdul Wali Muhammad of Masjidullah in Plainfield said, Wednesday "First, it is a good thing, and we are happy about that."
He added, "Our goal is to have both dates, but we are grateful to have one for now."
The imam said more and more school districts are honoring the Muslim holidays and most do both.
He called the first holiday the "small Eid," a "victory over self" for the 30 days of denying oneself food during the day and other prohibitions.
Eid Al-Adha is "the big Eid," he said, which is held after those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca return. That holiday is marked with an animal sacrifice, he said. This year it falls on Dec. 9, starting at sundown the night before.
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