NYC Mayoral Candidates to Add Muslim Holidays to School Calendar

New York mayoral candidates: Joe Lhota (Republican) and Bill de Blasio (Democrat)

Candidates for New York City’s mayoral race are both considering adding Islamic holidays to the list of days schools should close. 

A report in the New York Daily News says Joe Lhota (Republican) and Bill de Blasio (Democrat) both support closing school in observation of Islam’s two largest holy days: Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the pilgrimage to Mecca. Both Eids would join the likes Christmas and Easter, which most New York City schools observe.  It is estimated that 13% of New York City kindergarten through high school students are Muslim.

The issue of observing Muslim holidays is not new. The issue has come up before, but no action was taken. Currently, New York schools are closed for 13 days during the school year. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose third term is coming to an end, opposes adding more holidays to the school year. If approved, two days will have to be added onto the school calendar. 

A handful of school districts across the U.S. already observe Eid, including areas with large Muslim populations, such as Dearborn, Michigan, as well as some schools in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Neither candidate could be reached to comment for this story.