Muslim holiday recognized


Photo courtesy of Sabrina Manzoor

Muslim students gather to observe Eid al-Adha, a major holiday.

By Rebecca Jackson, Circulation Manager

Muslim students, families and staff across MCPS are excited about the Board of Education’s decision to move a teachers’ professional day to the date of the major Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha.

Last year, MCPS stripped the school calendar of the names of religious holidays, replacing them with secular, seasonal names and eliminating the argument from smaller religious groups in the area who believe they should have school off to observe their important holidays.

According to sophomore Mohammed Qureshi, by placing Eid al-Adha on the MCPS calendar, the Board is recognizing Muslim holidays as significant, even though the day is stated as a professional day.

Islamic members of the MCPS community have been trying for years to have at least one of their holidays recognized by a day off of school. However, CHS and other MCPS high schools do not have a significant Muslim population, especially in comparison to the amount of Christian or Jewish students. As Muslim population in MCPS has increased over the years, members of the Muslim community have finally achieved their goal.

“I’ve had to wait many years to see this happen,” sophomore Sabrina Manzoor said. “I am really surprised and excited that MCPS finally took the day off for this holiday.”

Eid al-Adha is a holiday about sacrifice and reflection. When Eid al-Adha has fallen on school days in the past, Muslim students who want to keep up with their education have had to go to school instead of the mosque, sacrificing a full celebration of their faith, according to Manzoor.

According to Manzoor, as she is getting older, it is harder to take off school for this holiday, because there is too much make-up work.

“It is extremely helpful to have the day off to celebrate with family and not worry about what I am missing at school,” Manzoor said.

Eid al-Adha celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to follow the word of God. On this day, Muslim students pray at services in their mosque and spend the rest of the day enjoying the company of friends and family. The other official Muslim holiday besides Eid al-Adha is Eid al-Fitr. This is the breaking of the fast of Ramadan. It is very unlikely that Eid al-Fitr will be granted a day off of school in MCPS as well, but the granting of a professional day for their other most important holiday is an accomplishment.