Muslim parents and schoolchildren in New Jersey were outraged this week when they learned that the entire Jersey City school district would not be closed for Thursday’s Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is observed by slaughtering an animal and sharing it with one’s neighbors. The holiday marks the end of the Hajj, a pilgrimage taken to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by millions of Muslims each year.
After the school board announced they would remain open for the holiday, “several of the Muslim parents and children screamed in rage and openly wept,” the Daily Mail reports.
A women in a hijab then took the microphone and threatened, “We’re no longer the minority; that’s clear from tonight. We’re going to be the majority soon.”
There was so much unrest in the auditorium that individuals had to be escorted from the meeting place, according to the report.
The Muslim families hoped that Jersey City would follow the precedent set by New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all City schools would be closed for the Muslim holiday.
Shutting down the schools with such short notice “is going to cause undue hardship on 5,000 to 10,000 people, who are going to have to scramble to get coverage for their children,” board member Gerald Lyons explained to the mob.
The board even agreed not to penalize Muslim students who wish to take the day off, but the decision did not quell the rage of the holiday advocates.
“The concern voiced by most of the board members was that it was too short notice for parents to make arrangements if school was closed next week,” another board member, Marcia Lyles, said. “However, they expressed a commitment to pursuing ways to demonstrate how much we respect all of our cultures.”