Schools should close for Eid

Suad Mohamed, Editorials Editor

As the school year begins, most students are worried about summer assignments, sports and new teachers. Some are concerned about another issue: Eid. While it is more likely to fall on Saturday, Sept. 2, there is a possibility that it will end up being on the Friday prior. If that were to happen, Muslim students and their parents would be forced to choose between missing important lessons or celebrating an important holiday.

Muslims celebrate two Eid holidays: Eid al-Fire comes at the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Eid al-Adha marks the end of the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj, and celebrates the prophet Ibrahim. On Eid, people dress up, families get together, pray in the morning, eat a lot of food and sweets, give gifts, and participate in celebrations.

It is a day meant for spending quality time with your family, so often times students opt for missing school. While it does not seem like a big deal to miss one day of school, it is actually very stressful because a students’s course load will be doubled, while most of their peers are on track. It is even harder if assignments are due or tests are scheduled to be on the next day.

Also, it isn’t fair that the FCPS school calendar accommodates for people who celebrate Easter and Christmas. Students and teachers get two weeks off for winter break, which includes Christmas. Spring break is strategically set up to span the week before Easter, and we have the Tuesday after Easter off. If all these school days are being missed for Christian holidays, there shouldn’t be a problem with taking one or two days off for Muslims.

People against closing school on Eid argue that Muslims only make up 2 percent of the U.S. population. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, that makes Islam the third most followed religion, and Muslims the largest minority. Many researchers predict that this number will grow much more in the next couple of years, due to an expected influx of immigrants from Muslim majority countries.

Muslims here in America and in other countries are wary of and feel discriminated by non-Muslim Americans. This feeling has only intensified in the past years because of how frequent hate crimes against Muslims have become. Our own President tried to ban people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the country earlier this year.

Because of the current political climate, many Muslims feel endangered. Recognizing Eid as a holiday and allowing people to celebrate in peace and without the stress of missed work would ease minds, and make Muslims feel more accepted.