Op-Ed: Include Muslim Holidays on School Calendars

As a child of immigrants, being born and brought up in New York State since the early 1970’s,
I am so grateful that we may finally see the day where Eid Holidays are given as a day off in
schools across New York State.
To make this dream a reality, state legislators must pass the Eid Holiday bill (A3068/S6179), to recognize these two Muslim holidays throughout New York State.
EId-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr are the two holiest days of the year for 1.5 billion Muslims
worldwide and 1.5 million Muslim New Yorkers.
Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It’s a time when Muslims celebrate
with their families, friends and neighbors. We attend prayers at our local mosques and spend
the day celebrating. Eid-Al-Adha marks the pilgrimage to Mecca, celebrated by Muslims
throughout the world.
Prior to 2016, when the Eid holidays were adopted in my school district in Suffolk County, both
celebrations were marred each year for my children and many others in my community: by the
decision to celebrate at home with family, or attend school. While missing two days of school
may not seem like a lot, missing just two days of exams and assessments can set a student
In 2016, through the support of the Eid Holiday Coalition, my school district, Elwood School
District, was one of the first districts in Suffolk County, New York to adopt Eid Holidays, after the
New York City School District and Syosset School Districts. It was the first year that my own
children and I did not need to debate whether or not school was more important than
celebrating our holiday.
The Eid Holiday Coalition has continued to bring awareness to individual school districts:
petitioning each district in the area to adopt the Muslim holidays in the school calendar.
Through the time and effort of many communities around New York State, over 50 school
districts statewide have adopted the Muslim Eid Holidays.
Nearly a decade later, we are fighting to make Eid-Al-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha a statewide
school holiday for all school districts in New York State. This addition would not only have a
profound effect on Muslim-American students but on all students to be aware of different
cultural and religious holidays celebrated by their peers.
Recognizing Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha will create an opportunity for education and dialogue
about the importance of the days in schools and beyond. What better way to bring cultural and
religious awareness to our students to ensure them to be global citizens of the world and
celebrate Eid Holidays together. Including these holidays on our school calendar is a way to
ensure that all students feel included and seen, and to celebrate our diverse state.
I am a proud New Yorker, having all of my education in New York State from public school in
upstate NY, to Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education CUNY Medical School, the first
university in New York to adopt Eid-Al-Fitr, Eid-Al-Adha, Diwali and Lunar New Year into the
calendar for all students. It gives me so much pride to live and work in New York State. I am
hopeful for a future with students throughout our state celebrating Eid al Adha and Eid Al Fitr
Thank you to New York State Senator Fernandez and New York State Assembly Member
Sayegh for sponsoring the Eid Holiday Bills and to all members of the Senate and Assembly
who have already co-sponsored. This year is the year for our communities to come together and
call on our state legislators to pass the EID4NY bill, so we can celebrate together.
Ask your legislators to help pass this bill as soon as possible by visiting this website and
sending a letter of support: bit.ly/eid-holiday-nys.
Ramadan and Eid Mubarak!

Dr. Sara Siddiqui is a member of th Eid Holiday Coalition and executive board member

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