The Muslim-American community has put forward petitions, on more than one occasion, for Muslim holidays to be recognized in the public schools across the U.S. The petition was drawn up by Muslim middle school students in Virginia.
Those who put forward the petition have mentioned that Jewish students are given holidays on their holy days, and such privileges should be given to Muslim children too. While this is correct, the school holidays are, however, decided upon by the school board and not the government, as many parents have thought. For those living in areas with a sufficient number of Muslim students in the schools, this should be reason enough to grant a school holiday. The school board needs to be addressed regarding this matter and not the white house. The state of Philadelphia has added two Muslim holidays to their school calendar already.
Muslims may have civil, political and social rights infringed upon due to their religion. But, this is not the reason why their holidays have been excluded from the school calendars in the U.S. As Americans, Muslims are entitled to fair treatment. Although this is the law, one often needs to “enforce equality” yourself. The parents of these Muslim students should first approach the school board to request Muslim holidays for their children. In the event that their suggestions are not considered, the matter should then be taken further.
It is necessary for Muslim-Americans to become more involved, as they are still a young community and need to be educated on the political process and be contributing citizens.
It is a religious duty for all Muslims to become more aware of the political process as a whole. They can do so not just through the signing of petitions, but by voting in elections, running for office, and putting forward their needs to representatives who can assist them.
These don’t need always to be Muslim issues. There is an old saying, “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the table.”
Muslim-Americans are at this stage still being served on the table. It’s up to them to take their place at the table, and not just when it comes to school holidays, but other issues too. America is their community, and they need to stand up and be more involved.