Public schools across the nation are closed for major holidays – including some with Christian roots. These special days, however, are celebrated across religious lines as cultural celebrations within a majority of American communities.
Leave it to New York City’s far-left mayor to decide that policy is not inclusive enough – at least as it relates to Islam. Bill de Blasio recently announced his intention to shut down the city’s schools in observance of two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year.
American Muslims have petitioned for such recognition for years; however, they are far from the only group seeking accommodation for their beliefs. Tellingly, de Blasio was not as receptive to the requests of Hindus.
Practitioners of the Indian faith only wanted school closed for one holy day, but the mayor explained that he has not yet decided whether Diwali should be included in the expanded list of vacation days.
“We are disappointed,” said Association of Indians in America spokesperson Dr. Shashi Shah.
He explained his faith has “been trying for a long time” to gain observance of the holiday, calling it “very important to the community.”
For de Blasio, however, it seems giving students two days off to contemplate Islam is far more vital than affording Hindus the same discretion for just one day.
In a recent interview, he expressed his anticipation, calling the change “complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget,” but insisting it is “something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame.”
While Christmas and, to a lesser extent, Easter are celebrated by Americans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are almost exclusively observed by members of that faith. If de Blasio seriously wants to shut down schools for any conceivable religious celebration, that public conversation would undoubtedly elicit advocacy of dozens of potential days off. Instead, he is concerned with placating specific communities while ignoring the requests of others.
The left is consistent in its adherence to separation of church and state, except when political correctness dictates otherwise. Even de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, spoke out against the declaration, saying students already have enough breaks throughout the school year.
–B. Christopher Agee
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