In first, NYC schools to close for Muslim holidays

Uriel Heilman

NEW YORK (JTA) — New York will become the first major city to close its public schools for Muslim holidays.

Schools will be shuttered for the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays, which rotate around the secular calendar because they are pegged to the Muslim non-leap lunar calendar. Several other smaller municipalities already close their schools for those holy days, including Cambridge, Mass.; Dearborn, Mich.; and Paterson, N.J., but no major metropolis does, according to The New York Times.

A 2008 study by Columbia University found that about 10 percent of students in New York City’s schools are Muslim, the newspaper reported.

The announcement fulfills a campaign pledge by New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, who called it a “matter of simple fairness.” The announcement came on Wednesday.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Adha mark’s Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God.

For decades, New York City’s public schools have been closed on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.