CBS New York, October 20, 2013
With both mayoral candidates supporting the addition of two Muslim holidays to the New York City public school calendar, one city councilman may finally get his wish.
As WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reported Sunday, Councilman Robert Jackson (D-7th) is the only Muslim on the City Council. He has been pushing days off in the school calendar for Muslim holidays for years, sponsoring a resolution that passed the City Council unanimously back in 2009.
He has called for adding Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which honors the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born son Ismail, according to published reports.
“If this is the melting pot of our great society, it has to be flexible enough in order to move in a direction of inclusiveness, and that’s all that we’re asking for,” Jackson said.
Jackson said Muslim students now make up about 12 percent of the city school population.
By Jackson’s count, the two Muslim holidays would only require extra days off five times over the next decade.
Mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota already have agreed that giving kids days off for two Muslim holidays is a good idea.
But some critics have said adding holidays to the school calendar is not a good idea–particularly given the proposals to add additional holidays for other faiths and cultural celebrations too.
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) believes children should also be given days off for the Chinese New Year. City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-25th) said a day off should also be awarded for the Hindu holiday of Diwali.