School System to Celebrate Muslim Holiday

Brock Parker, The Boston Globe

As a Muslim and a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 17-year-old Dunia Kassay faces a tough choice every year on Islamic holy days: go to school or stay home to be with family and friends.

If she stays home, Kassay says, she will be forced to play catch-up and make up her school assignments. But if she goes to school, she will be neglecting what she feels is her religious obligation on holidays such as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

“It’s really conflicting,’’ Kassay said. “Instead of fasting for a month and enjoying this really big day, eating and going to family’s houses, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, hey, guys, I’ve got to go do my homework.’ ’’

But beginning next year, Cambridge public schools will attempt to make it easier for Muslim students to honor their highest holy days.

In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state, Cambridge will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

The school will either close for Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, depending on which holiday falls within the school year. If both fall within the school calendar, the district will close for only one of the days.

The school district’s decision, announced last month, was made as the national discussion about Islam continues, fueled by a Mosque proposal two blocks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Florida preacher Terry Jones’s threat to burn a Koran. The discussion has also touched local schools, as Wellesley school officials drew criticism recently for a video that showed sixth-grade students kneeling during a prayer service at a Boston mosque during a field trip in May.

But Cambridge School Committee member Marc McGovern, who pushed for the Muslim holiday in city schools, said he thinks people need to take a step back from what he called hysteria and the stereotypes of all Muslims as terrorists.

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4 comments to School System to Celebrate Muslim Holiday

  • James R. Maxwell

    Sounds like a conflict of interst, they honor the Muslim holidays yet when Christians want to celebrate Christmas we are told we are not allowed. By some
    strange twist of mental represion we are not allowed to honor our relegious
    views. If one is tolerated then all must be or there is a discrimination involved
    by mentally incompentent liberal whine a lots.

  • susanm

    Why is my comments senseored from the blog?

  • SammysDad

    The stupidity and head-in-the-sand mentality of liberals is astounding and irresponsible. The silence of the muslim community is evidence of their acceptance of terrorist activities. These Cambridge appeasers are allowing another step for muslims to take over the state of MA just as France and Britain have allowed such ridiculous compensations to an ungrateful group of people who have no intentions of assimilations into our society, They are inwardly laughing at their success as these so called Americans allow them one more step to their goal. There is no way we should step back and allow this. Americans need to step forward and eliminate this disgusting attempt to show we are tolerant people. The muslims are not tolerant and will not accept this offerring as tolerance, only severe weakness of America as a whole.

  • susanm

    I FEEL SORRY THAT SAMMIE HAS TO GROW UP IN A STATE WITH SO MANY ARABS. WHY DON'T THE GOOD PEOPLES OF MASSACHEWSETS MOVE OUT OF MASSACHEWSETS AND LEAVE THE REST OF THE STATE TO THE ARABS, THE HOMOS, THE KENYANS, THE MEXICANS, THE EGGHEADS, AND THE OTHER MUD PEOPLE. THEN WE COULD FINALLY GET THAT WALL BUILT AROUND MASSACHEWSETS.

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