Muslims Seek School Holidays, Accommodations

August 24, 2005

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Cox Washington Bureau

On August 24, 2005 the Cox Washington Bureau reported, "Muslim parents around the nation are lobbying school districts to add Islamic holidays to the school year, or at least persuade schools not to penalize students for missing school to observe their religion.

Others are asking school districts to let children off early on Fridays or have some time designated during the school day for students to get together for Juma'ah, the most important Muslim prayer of the week... In Baltimore County, Md., Muslim groups have engaged in a yearlong effort to add the Islamic sacred observances of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the school's calendar.

Schools in the district close for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and for the traditional winter break that coincides with Christmas, but the Islamic holidays are not recognized... Eric Segall, a professor of law at Georgia State College of Law and a First Amendment expert, said that schools have no general legal obligation to satisfy religious requests."