Why Not Eid?

SLUSD is very diverse, as for its holidays, not so much…

Originally Published February 16, 2023. Updated December 15, 2023

About 3 million Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha every year, but it is yet to be recognized as a national holiday in the United States. According to a Pew Research Center estimate, in a few decades, Muslims will make up the second-largest religion in the U.S.

According to the Guardian, Former-Mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio announced the addition of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha to the city’s holiday schedule back in 2015.

“They are getting their holiday, we should get our holidays also – everybody should have a holiday,” said Abdul Khan, an Office Coordinator at Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, New York.

San Leandro High students say they also want their holiday.

“Just like many people around the world have break from school on Christmas and Thanksgiving,” said Salma Nasher, a Muslim senior. “I don’t go to school for the exact reason, to get together with my family and celebrate.”

As of January 26, 2023, the San Francisco Unified School District has taken up a proposal to add Eid to holiday calendars. They came up with the idea of recognizing the religious holiday without formally labeling it as a school holiday. 

“We feel this is a civil rights violation, we will continue to fight back,” said Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, according to NBC Bay Area

For many schools, April is the peak of testing season. 

In 2024, Eid Al-Fitr will fall on April 9th, and the San Francisco Unified District has taken this as an opportunity to include it in Spring Break. This way, the holiday isn’t directly observed on the academic calendar, while still giving Muslim students the accommodations they need. 

According to CBS News, Kevine Boggess, President of The Board of Education, explains, “Not every group is going to be able to have a holiday and have time off, so what does it actually mean to see folks, be inclusive of folks, if we’re not able to give everyone kind of the same processes?”

Although this worked for the 2023-2024 calendar, it won’t work every year. In 2026, Eid Al-Fitr will fall on March 20th, which is a school day. 

One institution that has taken its Muslim student body into account is the University of California, Berkeley.

UC Berkeley may not observe Eid on its academic calendar, but they do provide the necessary accommodations to make its students comfortable. Not only was Eid included in these accommodations, but also Ramadan (A month of fasting from dawn till dusk). These accommodations include request forms for adjusted exam times, flexible submission dates (for projects, finals, or exams), and adjusted meal options.

San Leandro Unified School District, however, has not yet taken any sort of measures to observe the Islamic holiday despite its diverse student body.

  Muslim students have no other choice than to miss school; some even attend because of important events, like exams. 

Despite that, missing school is still very stressful even if it’s only for one day. Catching back up with classmates isn’t easy, not to mention the work that must be made up for 6 different classes. 

 “It’s annoying, especially when it’s an important semester,” said Nasher. “Many students and staff don’t care to acknowledge how I’m exhausted from walking in the heat.” 

If we were to have an official school holiday, Muslim students and staff wouldn’t have to feel guilty about participating in their religious holidays twice a year.

SLUSD should take its Muslim students and staff into consideration and recognize their Islamic holidays.