Speed Reads

controversy

Maryland school district removes religious holidays from calendar after Muslim holiday request

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the Board of Education voted 7 to 1 to take out all references to religious holidays for the 2015-16 school year calendar after Muslim leaders asked that they also give students Eid al-Adha off.

The board was given three options, The Washington Post reports, with the majority deciding to take the names of the religious holidays off the calendar. Although the names are removed, the days off remain the same, with Easter Break now called Spring Break, and days like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur listed as "no school for students and teachers."

Board members said they did not wish to offend Muslims, but Saqib Ali, co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition, told The Post: "By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality. It's a pretty drastic step, and they did it without any public notification."

The lone board member to dissent, Michael A. Durso, noted that the district proudly proclaims it is diverse: "No matter how well-intentioned we are, it comes off as insensitive."