New Yorkers Welcomes Addition of Muslim Holidays in Public Schools


Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Linda Sarsour, 917-306-3323,  

Hesham El-Meligy, 917-214-6245,

Aliya Latif, 732-429-4268,

Lucia Gomez, 201-988-8824,


New Yorkers Welcome Addition of Muslim Holidays in Public Schools


NEW YORK, NY – The Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, a diverse coalition of more than 90 community, labor, civil rights and religious organizations from throughout New York City welcomes the addition of the two holiest Muslim holidays, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha to the New York City public school calendar.


Recognition of the two holidays will remove the unfair choice that 1 out of every 8 New York City Public School children currently have to make between being marked absent and celebrating their major holidays.  The vast majority – 95% – of Muslim school-age children attend public schools in New York City.  This announcement today is an enormous step towards inclusion.


“The Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York thanks Allah for this latest affirmation of the will and hope of Muslim New Yorkers, who continue during difficult times to claim our place in American society, by demanding equal rights and recognition for our faith community. This is now evidenced anew by the establishment of Muslim School Holidays on the NYSDOE calendar.Our children and all New Yorkers are the victors in this long struggle. We are grateful for all who worked with us in producing a more fair and equitable society for us all to live in as neighbors.” -- Imam Talib Abdur-rashid, President, Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York.


"As a parent of three current NYC public school students, I am so proud of my city today for making history and incorporating Muslim holidays in the calendar of the largest public school system in the country. This is what New York City is all about - recognition, inclusion and respect. Mayor de Blasio promised 1 in 8 public school students that they wouldn't have to choose between their education and their faith - and he delivered."-- Linda Sarsour, a member of the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays and Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York.


“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the vibrant diversity of New York City and the holidays we celebrate by adding two major Muslim school holidays to the calendar. After speaking with many of our members, we started advocating for the addition of these two holidays about nine years ago. Now tens of thousands of public school students, teachers, cleaners and other staff will be able to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha with their families. This announcement also sends a clear message to Muslim kids and families that New Yorkers value and acknowledge a wide range of religious beliefs and celebrations.”-- Hector Figueroa, 32BJ


“Today, I am proud that New York City has demonstrated a respect for the religious diversity represented in our schools and that all children will have an opportunity to observe these special days. Parents should not have to decide between sending their child to school or observing their faith.  It has been nine years since I started in this struggle in solidarity with the Muslim community, and thanks to the work of our Coalition, the recognition by Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina, parents will never need to choose again.” -- Donald McCafrey, La Fuente’s Civic Participation Project, Muslim School Holidays Coalition 32BJ SEIU


"On February 19, 2006, the New York Times published an article entitled:  “Wrestling With Faith While Making the Grade.” At that time, Muslim students were forced to take state exams on their holiest day of the year. Nine years later, the Mayor of New York City is announcing the addition of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha to the school calendar. The incorporation of Muslim holidays in the public school system is a milestone and it is the result of the dedication of members of our community, the City Council and the present administration." -- Omar Mohammedi, Association of Muslim American Lawyers


"This is an important step in celebrating New York's diversity and reaffirming our commitment to inclusion.  Mayor de Blasio has sent a strong message that New York's many Muslim students are an important part of the school system and the City." -- Maf Uddin, Alliance for South Asian Labor

"NYC just gave a lesson to the world in the principles of 'Recognition, Inclusion, and Respect', and I am even more proud today to be a New Yorker". -- Hesham El-Meligy, Coalition for Muslim School Holidays


“Our collective efforts have brought us to this historic win for all of our children. We thank de Blasio and Chancellor Farina for adding Muslim holidays to the NYC public school system.” -- Bourema Naby


"The Muslim American Society of New York is encouraged by New York City's decision to add the two Muslim holidays to the Board of Education Calendar. After years of advocating by New York City's Muslim community, NYC's Muslim School students will no longer be penalized for observing their holidays. We applaud Mayor de Blasio on working to fulfill his commitment on this issue and we are eager to constructively work on other pending issues facing Muslim and non-Muslim New Yorker's alike." -- Ibrahim Mossallam, Muslim American Society Brooklyn


"Brooklyn For Peace congratulates the Muslim School Holidays Coalition.You worked very hard in advocating for the Eid holidays in New York City public schools. We look forward to the Eid holidays being added to the 2015-16 academic calendar." -- Charlotte Phillips, Brooklyn for Peace


"After years of advocating by New York City's Muslim community, NYC's over 100,000 Muslim public school students will finally and thankfully no longer have to be penalized for observing their holidays. We applaud Mayor de Blasio's announcement adding Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul Adha to the NYC BOE calendar. We will continue to constructively engage with city government to advocate for Muslim civil rights.” -- Sadyia Khalique, Council on American Islamic Relations-NY


"The decision to officially recognize the two most important Muslim holidays is a historic step towards progress and inclusion.  The Muslim Democratic Club of New York is grateful to the advocates who carried petitions, attended rallies, and made policy makers see the wisdom of closing schools on Eid.  With today's announcement, Mayor de Blasio didn't just keep a promise, he extended respect and recognition long sought by millions of Muslim Americans." -- Ali Najmi, Muslim Democratic Club of New York


"This decision to fully incorporate the two Muslim holidays into the school calendar is an important victory not just for the Muslim community of NYC, but all faith communities---a recognition of their values and culture, contributing to the diversity and richness of life in our shared city.-- Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

"In the greatest city in the world, Yankasa Association would like to thank the coalition for making this a reality for our children and Mayor Bill De Blasio for fulfilling his campaign promise to the Muslim community in New York City." -- Mohamad Mardah, Yankasa Association

"This law is a great achievement for public school students and their families. In 2006, when my daughter Rawia Jamil took a day off from school to celebrate Eid al-Adha, she missed a state exam scheduled on the Muslim holiday. Nine years later, Muslim students are being granted the right to have their holiday recognized by the state and now they can finally fulfill both their academic and religious obligations [as students of other faiths already do]." -- Ahmed Jamil, Muslim American Society-Queens


“Since AAFSC’s inception over 20 years ago, our children and their families have seen their schools commemorate nearly every holiday except their own.  We commend the Mayor for following through on his goal to create a more inclusive and welcoming New York City.  His decision to recognize Muslim holidays in public school honors the traditions and experiences of Muslim communities and recognizes them as equals.” -- Lena Alhusseini, Arab-American Family Support Center


"Today's announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio is a historic win for diversity and inclusion. New York City has given permanent recognition to its Muslim community by officially adding two holidays observed by Muslims to the public school calendar.  Indeed, the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays' campaign is a case study for community organizing at its best." -- Khalid Latif, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU


"We welcome this great news and this historic decision. This decision comes when the Muslim community is feeling that, everything is working against them and struggling with anti-Muslim rhetoric on every level. I applaud the mayor's decision and the Muslim school holiday coalition that represented every race, religion, political and non-political organization. The Muslim students can now feel equal, valued and included. This historic event will boost the morale of the Muslim community to become part of the solution in our city and our country." -- Moustafa Elshiekh, Diversity Relations, Inc.


"The Muslim Community Network (MCN), formerly known as the Muslim Consultative Network is overjoyed by Mayor de Blasio’s announcement on the inclusion of the Muslim Holidays in the New York City Public School System. As a member of the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, MCN would like to congratulate partner organizations on the incredible work over the last nine years to see Eid El-fitr and Eid El-adha come to fruition. We thank Mayor de Blasio for delivering on his campaign promise.  We are proud to stand with him today, to make history in our great city, which values and celebrates diversity!” -- Debbie Almontaser, Muslim Community Network


"The addition of Eid holidays in the NYC school calendar sends a strong message of inclusion to Muslim communities across the city including Bengali-speaking students, who are predominantly Muslim and represent the third largest language group in NYC's public schools. The holidays will allow Muslim communities to fully celebrate their faith and present a rich learning opportunity of the diversity of our communities for all students." -- Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition