Target: Phillip Kauffman, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education
Goal: Reverse the Montgomery County Board’s Islamophobic decision and grant equal treatment to Muslim children
A Maryland county’s board of education was recently asked to recognize a Muslim holiday on its next annual calendar in the same manner in which it recognized the Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter and the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Instead of granting equal treatment to the Muslim holiday, however, the board decided to not have any religious holidays marked on the school’s calendar at all. Urge the board to reverse its decision and grant equal status to the Muslim holiday.
The Montgomery County Board of Education recently voted seven to one to strike any reference to religious holidays on its next annual calendar, following requests by the county’s Muslim community that thee holiday Eid Al-Adha be included in the same way that such religious holidays as Christmas and Yom Kippur have been. School will still be cancelled on the Christian and Jewish holidays, but Muslim children who attend Montgomery County schools will have to decide between honoring their holiday with family and friends or falling behind in school by missing a day.
The Board of Education’s decision is shallow and still does not treat Muslim children equally to their Christian and Jewish peers. Sign the petition below to demand that the board reverse its decision and grant equal recognition and privileges to Muslim children.
Dear President Kauffman,
I am writing you today about the recent decision by Montgomery County’s Board of Education to strike any reference to religious holidays from its schools’ annual calendar in lieu of respecting your Muslim community’s wishes and granting one more day off on a Muslim holiday. Your decision was Islamophobic and should be immediately reversed.
This is not an issue of needing to divorce the school district from any affiliation with religious holidays–if it was, your board would have done this ages ago. And besides, acknowledging that a given day coincides with particular religious events is not in an of itself problematic. This is about your refusal to grant equal treatment to Muslim families that you have been giving Christian and Jewish families for years, and reactively dismissing all religious acknowledgement in a bid to still appear “equitable” without appearing discriminatory. The fact that Christian and Jewish students will still get their holidays off while Muslim students won’t, however, directly undermines that narrative.
Ultimately your colleague Michael A. Durso had the right of it: “No matter how well-intentioned we are, it comes off as insensitive [to Muslim families].” I would go one step further though and say that no matter how well intentioned you were, it is insensitive to, and dare I say discriminatory against, Muslim families. I urge you to reconsider the issue, reverse your decision, and grant Muslim children equal treatment to their Christian and Jewish peers.
[Your Name Here]
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