Wednesday, April 30, 2008

School District Sets Muslim Holiday

In October, the Plainfield school district will have its first closing for a 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.

Click here to see the previous post on the issue.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, Are any Jewish holidays honored? Yom kippur?

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it be practical to have ONE- DAY a year to celebrate Plainfield's diversity,i.e. religion, race, ethnicity? Would this acknowledge the collective individuality of our community? It certainly would be at less cost to the tax payer! Advocating these individual remberances only accentuates the tribal nature of the human animal. And Plaifield's need to maintain its individual sense of identity, with its playmate power, by accentuating our differences.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you , Bernice for all that you do.
So where IS this new calendar and when will it be revealed to the district? Everything has to be a BIG secret in Plainfield.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think that one day to celebrate everyones religion would at all satisfy the individuality and diversity of our town. We dont have one day to celebrate Christmas or Easter. I think its a positive move to show other religions the same respect we show our own. As a public school we have to honor the law of neutrality (establishment clause) and treat every religion / culture as equally as possible. Excellent move on Plainfield's behalf..and we should fight for Yom Kippur too!

8:50 PM  

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