Maryland Muslims want schools to close on two religious holidays

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

TOWSON, Md. (AP) Some Muslim parents, students and activists are lobbying for Baltimore County's school board to cancel classes on their two chief holidays.

If the schools are closed for Christmas and the Jewish High Holy Days, the group argues, it's only fair to add Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. But opponents are wary of adding too many holidays to the school calendar.

''Our students are already inundated with enough time off,'' said Ella White Campbell, who chairs the district's minority advisory council. ''It sets a very dangerous precedent.''

Under a lunar calendar, Muslim dates shift backward each year. Also, exact dates cannot be scheduled in advance because religious authorities must recognize moon sightings made by the naked eye.

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan, a month of daytime fasting and reflection. Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, celebrates the Quran's account of God letting Abraham sacrifice a sheep instead of his son.

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