Well we’ve arrived now haven’t we Cambridge. Beginning next year their school system will observe on Muslim Holiday and close the schools. Cambridge School Committee Vice Chairman Marc McGovern said, “Cambridge schools already close for some Christian and Jewish holidays, and McGovern said he believes Muslims should be treated equally.”

“The issue that sort of came up was should we celebrate any religious holidays, but there was not the will to take away Good Friday or one of the Jewish holidays,” he said. “So I said, if that is the case, I think we have an obligation to celebrate one of the Muslim holidays, as well.”

An official also said, “It just didn’t seem right that we would close for two of those religions (Christian & Jewish), but not for the third.”

(This article below starts out in an attempt to pull your heart strings for 17 yr old Dunia Kassay and her dilemma so you’ll go along with this decision.)

(IMO-It is appropriate that  we don’t close for the third “religion” (ideology) because we are a Christian nation, not Islamic. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Saudi Arabia celebrates even one Christian holiday or doesn’t even allow a Christian church to be built, along with allowing Bibles in the country?)

School system to get Muslim holiday

Cambridge to start observance in 2011-12

As a Muslim and a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 17-year-old Dunia Kassay faces a tough choice every year on Islamic holy days: go to school or stay home to be with family and friends.

If she stays home, Kassay says, she will be forced to play catch-up and make up her school assignments. But if she goes to school, she will be neglecting what she feels is her religious obligation on holidays such as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

“It’s really conflicting,’’ Kassay said. “Instead of fasting for a month and enjoying this really big day, eating and going to family’s houses, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, hey, guys, I’ve got to go do my homework.’ ’’

But beginning next year, Cambridge public schools will attempt to make it easier for Muslim students to honor their highest holy days.

In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state, Cambridge will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

The school will either close for Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, depending on which holiday falls within the school year. If both fall within the school calendar, the district will close for only one of the days.

But Cambridge School Committee member Marc McGovern, who pushed for the Muslim holiday in city schools, said he thinks people need to take a step back from what he called hysteria and the stereotypes of all Muslims as terrorists.

“At a time when I think the Muslim population is being characterized with a broad brush in a negative way, I think it’s important for us to say we’re not going to do that here,’’ McGovern said.

Cambridge schools already close for some Christian and Jewish holidays, and McGovern said he believes Muslims should be treated equally.

“The issue that sort of came up was should we celebrate any religious holidays, but there was not the will to take away Good Friday or one of the Jewish holidays,’’ he said. “So I said, if that is the case, I think we have an obligation to celebrate one of the Muslim holidays, as well.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, spokesman for the department, JC Considine. said,If a school district has a large number of students who observe Good Friday and would not attend school that day, Considine said the districts are allowed to close because of the expected low attendance. But the state does require districts to schedule at least 180 days of school.

Cambridge School Superintendent Jeffrey Young said the district does not collect information about the religion of its students. But Young said that there is a significant Muslim population in the city, and that, at least anecdotally, the Muslim population in the schools appears to be growing.

A large Muslim population is one of the reasons why the school district in Dearborn, Mich., began closing schools for high Islamic holy days 10 years ago, said David Mustonen, communications coordinator for the school system.

Mustonen said that at first there were some people in the community who didn’t like the schools being closed on Eid holidays. “However, I don’t think this is the case anymore as people have come to realize that it is no different then taking time off at Christmas or Easter,’’ Mustonen said in an e-mail.

(I have to disagree with Mustonen…we are a Christian nation and worship a different God than Islam. Massachusetts may later feel the wrath of the God of Abraham…..not allah by doing this.)

Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, said that to his knowledge Cambridge would be the first school district in Massachusetts to close schools for a Muslim holiday.

“Somebody has to be first,’’ said Koocher. “I suspect there may be heightened interest in this. We’ll see how this plays out.’’

Boston.com