SPEAK OUT: Should MCPS Close Schools For Muslim Holidays?

Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal suggests MCPS should adjust its calendar to provide two school closing days for the two most religious Muslim holidays.

Christmas and Easter fall during winter and spring breaks. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the two most religious holidays on the Jewish calendar, are granted off-days by Montgomery County Public Schools.

Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal thinks two additional high holidays should be added to that list.

Leventhal wrote to MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr and Board of Education President Shirley Brandman on May 23 urging the school system to "provide two school closing days each school year in order for American Muslim members of our community to observe Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, the two most significant holidays in the Muslim calendar," according to a report by Maryland Juice.

Currently, the two holidays are designated as non-testing days for MCPS and Muslim students' absences are excused. 

"Thousands of our neighbors fill mosques throughout the county for religious observement and deserve the same recognition of their most sacred holidays that other faiths enjoy," Leventhal wrote in his letter to Starr and Brandman.

In response to the letter, MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig said the school system would consider a change.

"We appreciate Councilman Leventhal’s letter and will certainly take it under consideration during our calendar-setting process, which includes parents, community members and staff," Tofig told Patch in an email. "As a school district, we embrace and celebrate our diversity and are committed to ensuring that all religious faiths are respected.

"MCPS will continue to respect the rights of our students and staff to observe religious holidays and customs. If a student is absent due to observance of a religious holiday, it is considered an excused absence."

SPEAK OUT: Should MCPS make adjustments to its future school calendars to give an off-day recognizing the two most religious Muslim holidays? Tell us in the comments.

M.Diallo June 08, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Jeff Hawkins June 08, 2012 at 10:42 PM
@M.Diallo "I will remind you again that these days are not lost, they are replaced, remember that?" Not once did anyone ever say that those days are lost....not once. That was never the discussion.....
jnrentz1 June 09, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Mr. Hawkins, They will not be reasonable, they will not compromise, they will continue to lie, they will continue to demand special treatment. They will never mainstream. They will never subordinate their religious beliefs to the betterment of our secular state. I am enjoying my evening, drinking an adult beverage, listening to music. I respectfully suggest that you do the same. This "stuff" is the result of a failed immigration policy. And we will be paying a huge price for a long time.
M.Diallo June 09, 2012 at 12:26 AM
@Jeff Hawkins You said these days will be taken away, means the same as lost to me.
M.Diallo June 09, 2012 at 12:43 AM
@jnrentz1 It was about time you come out man! It is interesting that all these comments are comming from someone who entered this debate asking if Israel has the right to exist, as Israel has anything to do with MCPS policies. From your very first post you stated your intention without saying it, and you want to suggest that somebody else is being dishonest? Hoooo Hypocrisy, when you get people....... I knew it was just a matter of time before you show who you really are, these racist and anti-immigrant comments of yours will not make you more american as they won't make us less american. At least you are coming to realize you cannot do anything about somethings, you may not like it but you cannot do absolutly anything that is not in accordance with the laws of the land. So you can either calm down and stay cool, or you can keep on living with hate and racism and islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments, but they will take you nowhere.
Theresa Defino June 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Do you know how to pull up a person's past comments? This posted is well know for all the things you already cite. Click on the name.
jnrentz1 June 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM
M. Diallo, There is nothing racist is anything I have posted, now or in the past. I am opposed to illegal immigration. The failed immigration policy comes about as allowing people into the United States who willfully fail to embrace the laws and ideals of America. You brought up Israel again. And again, I support the right of Israel to exist as a peaceful, independent nation state and as a safe and secure homeland for the Jews. You are quick to condemn and label. Condemning and labeling are part of the arsenal of the extremist. For your information you may view all my past comments by clicking on my name.
jnrentz1 June 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
For those who are interested look up the court case, Koenick v Felton. This was a 1999 case out of Montgomery County decided in the 4th Circuit.
M.Diallo June 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM
@jnrentz1 First nobody is supporting illegal immigration here, what does this proposal has to do with illigale immigration anyway? You were the one who brought Israel in this debate, asking us if those who support this proposal support Israel's right to exist, did you forget or are you being dishonest again? Now you want to pretend that i am the one bringing Israel in this debate? What does it have to do with this proposal if not for a dishonets move on your part? I am just reminding you in case you forgot that you were dishonest since your very first post for trying a manouever we understand perfectly, but i will wait until you get to the point and i will let you know what i think about it. If you think that living is this country while practicing our religion means failing to embrace the laws and ideals of America, then you don't know much about the laws and ideals of America then. Go hit the books of history and find out what America has been about since its creation, people like you want to rewrite history and make it your own, your ideals are not America's ideals my friend, don't confuse things. Truth is you cannot stand people who advocate for their faiths, and you want to call someone else an extremist? unbelievable. Even though you are not saying what your real problem is, we know what's troubling you, i will wait until you say it openly and then i will address it accordingly.
Sharon June 09, 2012 at 05:33 PM
A 2nd "right on!", Annie!!!!
Jeff Hawkins June 09, 2012 at 06:34 PM
@M.Diallo "You said these days will be taken away, means the same as lost to me." For the pay period.....numbskull.....for the pay period. Every time I mentioned it I put my answer in that context. Remember this? Let's try another example: Christmas week break......10 month employees will get Christmas Day with pay, the other 4 days are without pay for that pay period. This year they are lucky, they will get Christmas Eve also because Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday. I take it you will NOT believe this? Let's try another one: Easter week break......10 month employees will get or got Good Friday and Easter Monday with pay, the other 4 days are or were without pay. I take it you won't believe that either. Remember this? "One last time......the loss of pay of 1 or 2 days will impact the paychecks at that specific time in history for those employees. For salaried employees the impact is not felt, for hourly employees it is." Remember this? Let's try this again: 40 takeaway 8 = 32 80 takeaway 8 = 72 (for those on a bi-weekly pay schedule) AMF....
M.Diallo June 09, 2012 at 08:05 PM
@jeff hawkins :-) LOL I am thinking you must be a numbskull too, so no need for me to keep repeating myself.
Maryam Khan June 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Yes, schools should definitely close for the two Muslim holidays! Imagine if schools were open on Christmas or Hannukah holidays... it would be very sad. The same consideration should be given to Muslim holidays. My son will be starting KG next year, and I'd love for him to be able to enjoy the two holidays at home with his family. Thank you for your efforts!!
B Allen June 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM
@Diallo and Frankie...both of you sound like you are the typical kool aid drinking left wing nutcases. For crying out loud, the holidays in question do NOT fall on a particular day and would have to be "floating" from year to year. You don't even have the same day for the Islamic new yr from yr to year. You people think you have the "solution" but you know what, all you people do is add to the problems. Frank says the politics reflects the population, well there ARE a lot of fools living in MoCo, if=diots that vote for guys like leventhal, in the dumbocrap party. I have seen and heard it from you spoiled little brats for too long, that is why I left the party when I did. I did not want to be "guilty through ASSociation". You people let your ego get in the way of a coherent thought process. "Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity"...I must admit you people have such inflated egos. Your biased comments contain no facts whatsoever just hear-say . Next you will be asking for the month of Ramadan off, that is the way you libs are. Just like spoiled little brats, give you an inch and you want a mile. There, I said it and I mean it.
M.Diallo June 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@Maryam Khan Exact.
M.Diallo June 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@B.Allen I definitly enjoyed your comments, but you are just not addressing the subject, and you are seriously starting to sound like a broken record. "Just like spoiled little brats, give you an inch and you want a mile" Well, this proposal is not asking for "a mile", just what's already happening for other religious holidays. And i know you meant everything you said so far, but most of them don't make sense and are not even related to the subject. Take a rest my friend, you need it :-) LOL
Jeff Hawkins June 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM
@jnrentz1 You are correct in your evaluation. You are a wise man..........
B Allen June 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
@Diallo (and @Frank) I am glad you enjoyed my comments but again, you are NOT listening. OK, I have asked this before. My question a few times was, why have (floating) days off every year to accomodate the muslim religion? http://www.when-is.com/eid-al-fitr-2014.asp This website gives the days listed by year as to when the muslim holidays fall. What happens if MCPS add the 2 days but tells you that you have those 2 days to celebrate, when they do not coincide with the muslim calendar? Do you get those 2 days and when the actual day the holiday is celebrated, which can result in 4 actual days, depending on when the holiday is? Also, while we are at it, maybe we need to add Chinese New Year, Muslim New Year, Israeli New Year and so on, to the days off? Then that would be a great excuse to have the kids in school all year. One thing good about that is a lot of people would save on childcare, but the daycare places won't like it, because it will take away from their business. My comments are more to show how comical you people are on the left. You discuss isses that have NO meaning. AND @FRANK, The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. Your one sided thought process ceases to amaze me. I look at issues from both sides, you on the other hand look at everything with blinders (or the dumbocrap way). You people only see things that you believe. I am glad I am not a NARROW MINDED fool, like you.,
Saqib Ali June 12, 2012 at 04:55 PM
B. Allen wrote: "Also, while we are at it, maybe we need to add Chinese New Year, Muslim New Year, Israeli New Year and so on, to the days off?" Ah, the irony! What Mr. Allen refers to as "Israeli New Year" -- Rosh Hashanah -- is already an MCPS holiday.
ian June 12, 2012 at 07:13 PM
a 'howler' feature? dude, every article on here is a 'howler' article. or more acurately, a whiner feature. perhaps you are new to the area, but dc has more whiners than any-freakin-where in america. by that, i'm mean self-important silly peeps whose mommies told them they were more special than anyone else. sadly, they believed it. welcome to whiney-ville, usa, sweetheart!
B Allen June 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM
You people are SO "stuck on stupid". My comments are meant as a joke, because you people are a joke. You people think you are so "well informed" but the truth is, you are narrow minded and think things should go your way just like spoiled little brats. Everytime you libs make a comment or open your mouth you "REMOVE ALL DOUBT". Look at the knucklehead in the gov mansion in MD and the dumbocraps running MD, no wonder MD is in a mess Moco is not much better because of the dumbocraps running it. (I am sure you people are going to say "well move", which would be a typical comeback by you people) Just look at all the crap going on in DC, crack smoking, hooker loving, tax evading Marion Barry lecturing on ethics. The funniest thing is, you people are so uninformed, you vote people like him back into office, NOW THAT IS WHAT TYPICAL DUMBOCRAPS DO. You people have NO ethics at all, just look at the FAST AND FURIOUS fiasco. You think your way is the only way...HA...and you can only see what you believe. @Frank, I withdraw nothing, I still maintain you are narrowminded. Ali, I know what you are all about. Community organizing is nothing more than being an agitator. Just like that nitwit in the white house and his administration. Go drink your kool aide, take your drugs and go back to your worthless lives and have the dems tell you what to do. The way you people act is the reason why I give NO credence to anything you say.
B Allen June 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
that is the lib dems way...that is why they are all a bunch of spoiled little brats now. They got "particiapation" trophies for playing sports or other activities, just so they were not feeling "left out".
jnrentz1 July 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Montgomery County should not adjust its calendar to provide two school closing days for the two most religious Muslim holidays.
jodi hinegardner August 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
The United States of America was founded, defended, and thrived under the protection of GOD. The people that first started coming here did so to have the freedom of having a personal relationship with JESUS The CHRIST, the Annointed one. Now we, as a nation, are turning our backs on the very HAND that has fed us. What do you think is going to happen as all of you continue to lobby out GOD?
Steve Itman August 10, 2012 at 12:36 AM
What do you think is going to happen as all of you continue to lobby out GOD? We will free ourselves from the ignorances and barbarisms of ancient superstitions and usher in a new golden age. It would be one of the largest leaps forward in human history.
Steve Itman August 10, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Students and staff should be provided with a set of "personal days" which they can take for their respective religious holidays at their discretion. This way the school system does not have to recognize specific holiday's or can at least minimize the practice. It is hard to deny Muslims their holidays on the grounds that "we can't do it for everyone" as Muslims are quite numerous in population, in fact their are far more of them than Jews. So it would seem arbitrary to deny them but not Christians or Jews. We probably can't avoid a blanket holiday for Christmas since everything else is closed, but to the vast majority of Americans, Christmas is a secular "santa clause" day and not a holy day, even among believers.
Ananya Bhattacharyya August 30, 2012 at 07:20 PM
This is in response to Bill Marshall's comments about Islam being responsible for so much death, killing, terrorism... This is factually incorrect. History tells us that no community has been free from fanatics who kill in the name of religion. The goals of the KKK included, from an early time on, an intent to "reestablish Protestant Christian values in America by any means possible," (including killings) and included the belief that "Jesus was the first Klansman." Also hundreds of thousands of people were killed during the Crusades. What's more, it's not just religious communities that were violent. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the USSR in the name of communism. The LTTE which pioneered the use of suicide bombs, consisted a majority of Hindus and a minority of Christians.
Denise M. October 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM
First of all, let's get this straight. There used to be two holidays that were recognized as christian school holidays (Easter and Christmas). This is no longer the case. These holidays are now labeled sping and winter holiday. This is fine with me. It would also be fine with me if they did away with these holidays altogether from the school calendar. What isn't fine with me is the fact that they basically removed the catholic holiday names from the calendar. The school is not closed because it is Christmas, but rather for winter break. However, on Yom Kipur, the school is closed because it is Yom Kipur. How is this showing diversity toward the Catholic religion? Anti-semite or anti-christian? You decide.
jag October 08, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Wow, Denise. Way to fail. "First of all, let's get this straight" - you're completely wrong. Students get off TWO days for Christmas and TWO days for Easter. http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/calendars/printable/SchoolCalendar1213.pdf Maybe educate yourself a bit before whining, next time.
Galen Muhammad September 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Demanding equal treatment is "asking for 'special treatment'"?? How so? I know....there's no sane answer to my rhetorical question.....but I'll "hear" anyone try to rationalize one anyway.


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