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Muslim Leader Wants Teaneck Schools Closed For Religious Holidays [Poll]

Should the district add two days off for religious observances?

A local Muslim community leader has asked Teaneck’s Board of Education to add two school days off for Muslim religious observances.

, said he wants the district to close on two holidays called Eids, according to an article in the Teaneck Suburbanite.

"There are a substantial number of Muslim families in Teaneck with children who attend the public schools," Khalid said in the report.

Khalid estimated there are about 300 to 500 Muslim families living in Teaneck. The township is home to two mosques, and North Jersey's Muslim community has grown significantly in recent years

The Board of Education’s policy committee would discuss the request and could form a committee of local community members to review various religious holidays, said Trustee David Diuguid.

"It is important to know what the holidays mean to various groups and how it would affect the district to add more holidays," Diuguid said at the March 14 school board meeting.

Trustee Margot Fisher said the district could find ways to recognize the religious holidays without closing school.

Schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction, said Frank Belluscio, a spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association. The state Department of Education also uses a list of religious holidays students must be given excused absences for.

“Typically school districts close schools for such a holiday if a large enough percentage of students or staff is likely to be absent,” said a school board association survey of religious holiday closings.

Board of Education President Ardie Walser said the district did not collect data on student religions.

According to the school board association’s survey, the most common closings included Christmas, Good Friday, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

“Ramadan lasts for a month; it would be impractical to close for that long! It would be better to have identified Eid as the holiday. Calendar issues are very difficult, and usually seem to hinge on adult needs, not student needs,” said one survey response.

A 2007 New York Times article noted schools in Paterson and Prospect Park closed on Muslim holidays, including Eid al-Fitr. Atlantic City also opted to close school for the two holidays. 

Eid al-Fitr is a festival celebrating the end of the Ramadan fast, while Eid al-Adha is festival of sacrifice. The festival has drawn large crowds and elected officials to the Teaneck Armory. 

Information about religious holidays in school districts around New Jersey is attached to this article, as provided by the New Jersey School Boards Association.

The Department of Education's list of official religious holidays can be found here.

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JamesTS March 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I think if there are enough students who observe in the school then they should call the day off. If not just follow the law and allow excused absences. it should be about how it impact school. lots of kids out? then they need the day off.
Lisa March 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM
If the schools recognize Christmas, Good Friday, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, then why are so many of you voting against Eid? Christians get 2 holidays, Jews get 2 holidays, why is it not fair that Muslims get 2 holidays? Stop bing schmucks and allow people time with their families on their sacred days. What is wrong with you "no" voters?
JamesTS March 23, 2012 at 03:53 PM
With all due respect: if only a small amount of students in Teaneck celebrate this holidays then how could the school possibly justify closing the entire school district? I dont think that makes any sense. They are required to provide 180 days plus snow days. if you make an exception for one case then it opens the doors to everything else. However I think if they research and find out lots of students are out anyway they should close. the holidays should reflect the student body.
Tamika March 23, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I can barely find someone to watch my children on winter break, spring break as well as the other religious holidays and teacher days off. Unfortunetely, my husband and I both have to work during all these days. If the school system is willing to offer some sort of free camp then fine have the day. Otherwise its not fair to working parents.
Robert L. Friedman March 23, 2012 at 06:32 PM
In view of the teachings in their holy book, I would not be inclined to give them anything.After all the rest of us are all infidels aren't we?
JamesTS March 23, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I certainly hope you are joking Robert! thats an absurd statement otherwise.
Kristen Nicole March 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Robert- Muslims do not believe that only Muslims can go to heaven. Also, the Qur'an teaches Muslims to respect both Jews and Christians in their religious beliefs.
DMAB6395 March 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I think that they should be allowed excused absences, to start. Then see how many are out if there are a majority of the kids out then take it to the next level. I thought a majority of Muslim kids went to there own schools didn't realize that so many went to public schools.
DMAB6395 March 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Robert, "in view of the teachings in their holy book"? Have you read their "holy book"? I don't think that you have. Muslims are peaceful people, it's the ones like Bin Laden that use the religion of Muslims to the extreme of killing people.
Chris March 24, 2012 at 03:08 AM
But in some sense, the fact that they don't get the school day off makes them second-class citizens. I understand what you are saying and it does make sense, but it makes it seem as if Islam isn't accepted.
Robert L. Friedman March 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Absurd statement? Iearned what I need to know about Islam on 9/11. I don't have the luxury of figuring out which of them would not do the unthinkable in the name of Allah.
Robert L. Friedman March 24, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Perhaps I am reading the wrong translation?
Jim Dunleavy March 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
It is certainly within the rights of any group, religious or otherwise in this country to ask for certain days to be recognized by public institutions for their importance to that group. How that recognition is done, and how it impacts those that do not share in the importance of the day is for the public to discuss and decide. Certainly the number that would celebrate that day is part of that discussion. The idea of excused absences appears in this instance to be a reasonable one. In general it has to do with what the majority of the population is that sets up the recognized celebrations. Hisotrically we have been a christian/judaic country, so those holidays tradionally for us have been the ones off as they represent perhaps the majority of the population. i would not be against something for the Muslim community.
Kristen Nicole March 24, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Robert- I'm not sure what you're reading but it can't possibly be the Qur'an. Do you base your beliefs about Islam off of the actions of delusional men from 9/11. I don't know any pure-hearted Muslim who would support their behavior. It's like saying that Timothy McVey was a good example of a Christian or that the religious crusaders who conquered all of the Native American tribes through bloody massacres were the leaders of a peaceful religion... The media paints a much different picture than reality and it will take education to overcome the "extremist" media claims of what everyday Muslims are like. Not to ramble, but did you know that TLC rolled out a show called All American Muslims a few months ago. The show had over 1 million viewers per episode but it was dropped from the network because of too many complaints from viewers that "they did not look like or act like stereotypical Muslims." Not every woman wears a hijab (veil), not every man has a scruffy beard. Some have tatoos, some smoke, some drink, some go to prayers, some don't pray. Not every terrorist is Muslim, and not every Muslim is a terrorist. Anyone who follows any "main" religion (and maybe others but I don't know enough about them) would say that only God can judge a person by his heart and actions.
Robert J. March 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM
If you looked into the Muslim religion you would know it preaches violence & death for everyone who doesn't believe what they do, so why should we honor them with a holiday?
Robert L. Friedman March 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Not to prolong this discussion but it is common knowledge that their Quran teaches hatred and intolderance. And yes Jews and Christians are considered infidels. Sorry but we don't have the luxury of trust anymore or should we wait for the next Jihad?
Robert J. March 24, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Robert,I agree with you 100% I guess many of those responding are misinformed & are unaware of the demonstrations in Europe by the so-called "peaceful" Muslims shouting death to all non-Muslim peoples.
Dee Are March 25, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I think that there are a few separate issues at play here. 1. does the nature of the holiday preclude attending school? are there religious laws that would make it impossible for a student to attend without breaking those rules? This is the case with certain jewish holidays. 2. is the holiday considered a national holiday so the services going along with schooling (buses etc) are closed? Christmas, regardless of its religious source is a day off because getting students to school would be daunting. 3. what percentage of the population would be missing school on that day and what threshold has been used to decide of a school's being open? if a percentage policy has been established, it should be applied. if not, one should be established. and if this means that students of other religions who are in a substantial minority miss a day of school, then so be it.
Tarek March 25, 2012 at 04:14 AM
dude, i just read you comments, it shows how you are filled with ignorance and non sense. Claiming that you read the Quran is just so not even close for anyone to believe. You are just listening to the media, who every single person on earth knows that they lie and prejudice in the way they want. Please be a mature person and learn about a topic before you talk about it. By the way, what do you think if we take off your holidays too ? .. knowing that i'm not going to heaven because i'm not a jew ?! ... smh
Kristen Nicole March 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Any possibility that you could please quote these surahs? I'd like to reference the Qur'an and read what is "common knowledge".
Margaret Pfranger March 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM
If we give the Muslims their holidays off-then why not the Hindus. It should only be if the number of students in a school-belonging to a certain religion-are over a certain percentage-they would then get their holidays off
kel callen April 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Christmas is a FEDERAL holiday. Most of the others mentioned are state holidays. Then I looked further and found 
October 24 * Hajj Day (Islam) 
October 26-29 Eid al Adha (Islam) 
November 15 Al Hijra – 1st Muharram (Islam 
Go look at the list. There are so many holidays for so many religions that it's a wonder kids EVER go to school. And Chris-Is you need a day off from school to feel like a first class citizen-go somewhere else, maybe Saudi, or Dubai. You too Lisa-I'm sure in some sense they will be happy to see you. After they fit you for a Hefty bag, take your drivers license away from you and tell you in no uncertain terms that you can't leave the house without a male member of your family so they won't have to drown you later for the family honor. 
Like all madness this too shall pass-it's just taking forever. Robert J-don’t waste your breath. I had a true luddite in bible class once who referred to the koran as a “Holy Book” How’s that for irony? 
http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/holidays1213.htm
proud to be a muslim May 15, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Do you have any proof that the Qur'an teaches hatred and intolerance? Please don't generalize about the Qur'an.
Robert J. May 15, 2012 at 05:09 AM
How come nobody commented on my demonstrations in Europe remark ? I guess because it's true & can't be denied. I saw the film clips of it & it was disgraceful.
Robert L. Friedman May 15, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Take a look and London and Paris for your validation of this 7th century lunacy. First it is a mosque, then a whole neighborhood, then rewriting what schools teach, then a Sharia zone with no music. Yes Islam the religion of tolerance just take a look how Christians are treated in Egypt. Who is kidding who.....such a tolerant group. Think I'll ask to build a synagogue in Cairo or maybe in a Muslim neigborhood outside of Paris.
Lisa Dee May 22, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Days off from school to show respect to people who show no religous tolerance anywhere in the world, the horrible way they treat women, Muslim countries are not the poorest in the world by accident,even with all that oil. Call it what it is a "cult" death to all non believers,Christians, Jews . They exploit our freedoms smile and will happily kill us.
Robert L. Friedman May 22, 2013 at 05:33 AM
Exactly LIsa, the agenda of the Islamists is clear. For those who have commented herein who under some misconception that the Quran preaches peace and tolerance suggest taking a reality check. The CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood program of subversion of Western civilization is clear. Don't fool yourselves. Which of you is willing to believe that one of these so called peace loving Muslims won't be radicalized and strap on a suicide vest?

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