A coalition sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations–an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial and a designated terror organization in the United Arab Emirates–and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) is pushing to have two Muslim holidays officially recognized by the city as equal to the Christian and Jewish holidays for which city employees and public school students are off from work and school.
The Philadelphia EID Coalition is getting behind the effort that would allow for the city’s 200,000 Muslims to be off work for Eid ul Fitr, which falls at the end of Ramadan, and Eid ul Adha, which coincides with the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
“For thousands of Muslim families in Philadelphia the choice between celebrating their faith by observing their holidays or attending their daily obligations of work and school is real,” the coalition claims on its website. “Because the Muslim holidays of, Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha are not observed as official holidays, thousands of students and workers in Philadelphia don’t feel Islam is treated with the same respect as other faiths recognized and observed by our City.”
“We already recognize the Christian holidays,” said Michael Rashid, a member of the coalition, according to a local CBS Philly news report. “Christmas is like a no brainer, Easter is a no brainer, the Jewish holidays are recognized and by recognized we mean there is a city holiday for the school system, city workers are let off and get holiday pay for that.”
NJ.com reports that the bill proposing the two official Muslim holidays in the city is scheduled to be introduced on January 21. The coalition is also attempting to obtain 50,000 signatures on a petition to show support for the bill.
“This city was founded on religious tolerance by William Penn,” said Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., also a member of the coalition. “We recognize everyone’s holiday. It’s important that 80,000 households in Philadelphia not be marginalized.”
Beginning this year, New York City public schools will also have two additional days off in recognition of the Muslim observance of Eid.
In a column at philly.com, Daily News writer Jenice Armstrong wrote that while she initially “balked” at the proposal for yet two more school holidays, she “softened to the idea” after listening to stories about Muslim children feeling alienated.
“Philadelphia has more than 50 mosques and, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 200,000 Muslims,” she wrote. “Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States.”
CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, and a designated terror organization in the United Arab Emirates.
According to The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), the Muslim Student Association is “the most visible and influential Islamic student organization in North America.”
The organization, with approximately 600 chapters in the United States and Canada, was incorporated in January of 1963 when members of the Muslim Brotherhood convened at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the goal of “spreading Islam as students in North America,” reports IPT.