CAIR-NJ Welcomes Watchung Borough Board of Education Decision to Mark Eid ul-Fitr as a Day Off for Students
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 01/27/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Watchung Borough Board of Education’s decision to mark April 10, 2024, as a professional development day for staff and a day off for students to mark Eid ul-Fitr.
“The calendar that was revised by the curriculum committee recognizes April 10th as Eid ul-Fitr. What happens is that we’re going to have — the suggestion came forward to have it as a professional development day, a day which is closed for students,” a board member said at the Tuesday meeting.
“The original calendar had October 11th the Tuesday as a professional development day and that day is moved to April 10th in next year’s calendar.”
SEE: Watchung Borough BOE Meeting | Jan. 2023
A neighboring town, Warren Township, also did the same in December 2022.
SEE: Warren Township Board of Education Approves Calendar, Includes Eid and Diwali
This decision comes after nearly two years of advocacy efforts by students and parents.
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Outreach Coordinator Zaid Hussein said:
“Including Eid in the 2023-2024 calendar is a victory for educational inclusion and for Muslim students who have long advocated for this necessary accommodation.
“We are hopeful that Watchung Region High School will follow suit and give their Muslim students the opportunity to balance their academic obligations with religious duties.
“While designating Eid as a professional development day for staff is a step in the right direction, we hope to see the Watchung Board of Education move in the direction of adopting Eid as a permanent calendar holiday instead in the future.”
In a statement, Watchung Hills Regional High School student Noora Kuran said:
“The win in Watchung and Warren is one small step for Watchung Hills and one giant leap for minorities nationwide.
“I hope that what we’ve accomplished inspires others to do the same. It is beautiful to see our hard work for the last few years pay off.”
Students and parents at Watchung Hills Regional High School are still entangled in a year and a half-long struggle to have Eid recognized as a holiday.
SEE: Watchung Hills Regional High School BOE Meeting | Sept. 2022
Many other school districts nationwide are also adding Eid holidays to their calendars.
Washington, D.C., based CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
[NOTE: There are two major “Eid” holidays for Muslims. Eid ul-Adha (EED-AL-ODDHA), commonly referred to as just “Eid,” is associated with the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, and commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During Eid ul-Fitr (EED-AL-FITTER) or “feast of fast breaking” holiday at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.]
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, firstname.lastname@example.org, 551-221-5592