Aug 12 2010
In a decision that sent ripples of hope across the Muslim community (and feelings of anger across the non-Muslim community) well beyond New Jersey, the South Brunswick Board of Education has approved school closings in the 2010-11 school year for two Islamic holy days.
About 10 of the nearly 600 school districts in New Jersey acknowledge Muslim holy days as official school holidays, according to the New Jersey School Board’s Association. Paterson’s school calendar recognizes them. Passaic’s calendar includes Diwali, but not the Islamic holidays. Atlantic City lists Ed al-Fitr but not Eid al-Adha. Other districts that have closed for the holidays include Irvington, Prospect Park, Cliffside Park and Plainfield.
PHOTOS : Muslim throat cutters are very busy preparing for Eid
In New York City, the issue of honoring Muslim holidays is political and controversial. Last month, the City Council passed a non-binding resolution calling for school closings on the same two Muslim holy days, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who controls the school district, has opposed the closings for reasons he said have nothing to do with Islam. (And everything to do with money aka reimbursement from the State for every day students are IN school)
There were a few parents that felt there were enough days off in the calendar and there shouldn’t be any more days off for any type of holidays,” Speesler said. “They weren’t against other religious holidays. They were against adding more days off in general.”
New Jersey is also home to an estimated 100 mosques and between 400,000 to 600,000 Muslims”, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (Numbers ALWAYS inflated by CAIR)
With schools closed on Eid al-Fitr, Muslim families will be able to attend early prayer meetings at a mosque, hold family gatherings and exchange gifts. On Eid al-Adha, known as the “big feast” and the day of sacrifice, families typically gather at mosques, community centers and rented halls to perform one of the most important morning prayers of the year.
The leader of the South Brunswick mosque, Imam Hamad Ahmad Chebli, said he has received numerous calls asking how he got the school board to agree. His advice was for Muslim community leaders to first become solid members of the local civic community. (This is called ‘Soft jihad’ – The Muslim Brotherhood’s first rule for infiltrating, then conquering non-Muslim countries from within)
“You start by working gradually. You start by supporting your library,” said Chebli, who has lived in South Brunswick more than 20 years. “You don’t come here one day and become president the next day.” (Yes you do, if you can get all documents related to your personal history destroyed) NJ.com