Philadelphia School District to provide Muslim holidays to students

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Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite makes announcement about Muslim holidays. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite makes announcement about Muslim holidays. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Muslim students won’t be expected to show up for classes in Philadelphia on Eid al-Fitr, which is the end of the monthlong observance of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, the conclusion of the Hajj pilgrimage. 

They won’t be official schoolwide holidays immediately, said William Hite, district superintendent.

“In the next school year — because the calendar has already been established — we will be honoring those celebrations with providing children with excused absences on those days,” he said Tuesday. “Beyond the year of ’16-’17, we are committed to celebrating the Eid holidays, and we will be working on those as we work on our district calendar.”Michael Rashid, founder of the Philadelphia Eid coalition, said it took a lot of work to have the holidays officially recognized.”We built coalitions with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, we built coalitions with the Jewish community, the Christian community,” he said. “All over this city, we talked to people, told them what we were trying to do. And their response was, like the mayor’s, of course, it makes sense, it’s only fair.”Mayor Jim Kenney also has created a cultural inclusion task force.

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