Muslim Holidays Rejected by Board

April 26, 2007

Author: Tarron Lively

Source: The Washington Times

Baltimore County public school officials have said that adding Muslim holidays to the school calendars is unlawful and "irresponsible," marking another setback in attempts across the region to add the holidays.

Muslim supporters wanted schools to close for Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, and Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

A few dozen members of the county's chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asked for the change at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

School officials, however, stood firm by a state law that disallows public schools from endorsing any religion, saying the school calendar can include scheduled closures only for holidays that cause low attendance rates countywide.

Kara Calder, school board spokeswoman, said yesterday that officials have adhered to Maryland law.

"The board's position has been -- and remains -- that the primary obligation is to educate students and meet requirements," she said.