Friday, November 02, 2012

CAIR Wants Muslim Holidays Added To Broward Country School Year

The Florida Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging Broward County Florida schools to close for Eid-al Adha (ends Hajj) and Eid-al-Fitr (the holiday that ends Ramadan) because Jews and Christians get their holidays off so why shouldn't they. And they're getting some help from the Chairman of the School district's Diversity Committee, Roland Foulkes, who said:

"This is about inclusive diversity, and the Muslim community has too long been excluded. This is long overdue, and we need to move beyond the lip service of diversity in the community and reflect the full diversity of everyone."
"We have a large community of Muslims, and if there is a feeling that they should have the same options as other religious groups, we should give them an ear and support that."
What?  This country is founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not Islamic, so why should they add two more religious holidays to the official school year? Do schools in Muslim-majority countries celebrate, in the name of diversity, holidays from minority religions?

Some, with good reason, do not think it's such a good idea:

But some school district officials worry it could open the floodgates for more requests, as well as complaints from groups with anti-Islamic views. Religious freedom experts also say the district could be in legal trouble if it closes school for the sole purpose to allow students to celebrate a religious holiday.

A meeting yesterday, was  scheduled to determine whether CAIR's proposal should even be brought to the School Board, though Foulkes was adamant that he would recommend it whether it was voted down or not.

According to Superintendent Robert Runcie, per State Law, children are already allowed to take time off from school for religious holidays without being penalized.

"We make accommodations, but we may not be able to close the district," Runcie said. "If we do that for everybody and every cause out there, even though they're all valid, we would literally have a problem squeezing in the number of instructional days we need."
So why shouldn't they be satisfied with that? They feel that since some tests- like Florida's FCATs- might fall during religious holidays, their kids will unfairly have to choose between their religious obligations and the exams and it stresses them out. Oh, really?  Too bad.

Broward County apparently has anywhere from 15,000 to 18,000 Muslim school kids, and over 100,000 Muslims in Southeast Florida.

The ADL had this to say:

David Barkey, religious freedom counsel with the Florida chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, said the reason for closing schools must be secular, not religious.
"If it's going to be disruptive logistically because a significant number of students and teachers are going to be absent, you can close," Barkey said.
So, it make sense that the school system in Dearborn, Mich., where a third of the population is Muslim, closes for Islamic holidays, Barkey said. Cambridge, Mass., Burlington, Vt., and Barrington, R.I., have also added Muslim holidays to their calendars in recent years.
Barkey said he was unaware of any specific threshold needed to justify closing.
According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, a school county in West Florida (Hillsborough) decided to not include any religious holidays in the school year, after a similar attempt to add Muslim holidays to the calendar caused a furor.

This is how it all starts.

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