When Muslim residents in the land of America complained about honoring their beliefs should be mandatory, one district decided to require public schools to add Islamic holidays to the calendar “to show respect for the Muslim culture.”
The controversial decision has sparked quite a debate because it shows the hypocrisy of the often-criticized laws regarding the separation of church and state.
Most readers are also concerned about the prohibition of Muslim practices in America in the wake of the Paris massacre at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Many have argued that allowing the observance of Muslim holidays in American schools “bends the rules,” and is seemingly contradictory since many Americans stand behind other controversial laws Muslims condemn.
The school board was compelled to make a final decision in Connecticut’s Waterbury School District after being presented with requests from several Muslim residents urging the district to observe Islamic holidays.
More details of this story from local news outlet WTNH:
One of Connecticut’s districts has ruled that its schools will be required to honor two of Islam’s holiest days. In accordance with the religious beliefs, the Waterbury Board of Education voted to recognize these holidays by preventing schools from scheduling exams, field trips, or major school events during these times.
After receiving a petition of more than 300 signatures, the board decided to honor the Islamic faith by allowing practicing Muslim students to skip school on these days without fear of missing important curricular events. Superintendent Dr. Cathleen Ouellette explained that the board hopes to “show respect for the Muslim culture” with its ruling.
Watch it here: WTNH/Youtube
Parent Fahd Syed, who was in attendance during the board’s decision, expressed his delight with the ruling. He explained that he is glad his four children won’t have to choose between their faith and education on these particular dates.
“Growing up in Waterbury myself and going to school here, I missed a trip because of the holiday,” said Syed. “I had to choose my faith and I didn’t go to the trip. That was in the third grade at Washington Elementary.”
Waterbury Board of Education President Charles Stango told WTNH that the point of the change is to allow Muslim students to stay true to their religious convictions while also honoring their educational requirements. He reiterated that, although they will not be shutting the schools down for the days, they are going to ensure that observers are not penalized for missing school.
“We were approached about this, and we thought about it, and honored it,” said Stango.
Superintendent Dr. Cathleen Ouellette concluded that parents would be notified of the changes, adding that they are expected to be “sensitive” to the religious convictions of Muslim residents.
“A sensitivity memo will go out to the district to teachers and staff, asking them to be sensitive to the Muslim holidays in regards to scheduling assessments and major events that happen through the district,” said Dr. Ouellette.
How do you feel about schools in the United States honoring Muslim holidays? Share your thoughts.
Watch it here: Pohan drek/Youtube