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Thu 5 Mar 2015 01:57 PM

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New York schools to close on Islamic holidays

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new policy at school where 36% of students were absent on the last Eid Al Adha holiday

New York schools to close on Islamic holidays
“This is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth,” de Blasio said. (Getty Images)

New York City schools will close on the Muslim holy days of Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha for the first time, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced.

The decision will make the city the largest schooling district in the US to observe an Islamic holiday.

De Blasio revealed the policy, which will come into effect in the next academic year, at a public school where 36 percent of its students were absent the last time Eid Al Adha occurred on a school day.

“This is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth,” de Blasio said, according to Bloomberg.

He said in the past, students had either “pursued his education and missed his religious observance or the other way around”.

“That is the kind of choice that was wrong to have to make for these families,” he said.

Eid Al Adha, the second of the two Eids, which is forecast to fall on September 24 this year, commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

Eid Al Fitr, forecast to occur on July 18, this year, marks the end of the holy month of fasting known as Ramadan.

Muslims account for 12 percent of the 1.1 million students in the New York City schooling system, according to a 2008 report prepared for the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays in cooperation with Columbia University Teachers College.

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