July 6th, 2010
11:18 AM ET

Should New York schools close for Muslim holidays?

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/07/05/muslim.school.holidays.cnn%5D

After Imam Khalid Latif, a chaplain for New York University and the New York Police Department, wrote a Belief Blog piece arguing that New York schools should close for important Muslim holidays, CNN invited him on air.

Latif makes an interesting case in the interview: that American Muslims are trying to develop their own contemporary identity and that steps like closing schools for major Muslim holidays would help that process. The implication is that an Americanized Islam–modern and moderate–would benefit all Americans.

Latif was interviewed over the weekend by CNN's Don Lemon.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Leaders

soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. JLinMiami

    Not a chance!. This is not England or Canada, so keep you beliefs to your house of prayers.

    Getting sick and tired of trying to "accommodate" these groups. Does Iran, Saudi Arabia or Yemen provide day offs during Christian, Buddist or Jewishh holidays? I dnot think so.

    Not a chance.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  2. Tom

    Absolutely NOT. This country was founded on the christian religion 234 yrs ago and that's why we observe the christian holidays as a nation. It was not founded on a muslim religion and they are free to observe their own holidays the same way that the Jewish population celebrates theirs...but we didnt make their holidays national ones and therefore should not agree to any such notion for the muslims. If they want to live in a country where the nation recognizes and observes muslim holidays then they know where to go.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Bejnamin Franklin

      sorry, to disagree but if you actually study your founding fathers, you will clearly see that this nation was NOT in any way founded on the christian religion (you may wish it so, but it does not make it reality)
      "As the government of the United States of America is not founded in any sense on the Christian religion" – Treaty of Tripoli (Benjamin Franklin)
      There are many more quotes, but that one is pretty much crystal clear.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  3. mark

    If they want to have a muslim holliday, I would suggest that they go to muslim country. How many muslim countries have Christian hollidays?

    July 7, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • John


      Yes, we could suggest that, or we can stand as an example of freedom and openness in this world, that we are not narrow-minded bigots and that we accept people as they are, no as we want them to be.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • KS_WIS

      Yes John, we should be more opened minded, but, we should always remember that the price of freedom is not free and there are those who would like nothing better than to disrupt and change America by using our tolerance against us.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • John


      You are right, the price of freedom is not free. Sometimes the cost is recognizing and respecting other people's freedoms, not just your own.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  4. Awabnavi

    "I'm native north american. When will you be returnign to europe?". The answer to that question they avoid like the plague.

    July 7, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • JLinMiami

      Hey , when will you return back to Asia? You dont belong here either and should be glad the Inquisition didnt exterminate you all!

      July 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • John

      @ JLinMiami – wow that is hateful (historically incorrect and hateful). Native Americans did come here from Asia, that is true. Of course this was 10,000 years ago – and they didn't displace another group of people when they got here. Europeans, however, arrived here only about 500 years ago and they DID displace another group of people, infecting them with small pox in an attempt to wipe them out, etc.

      By your reasoning, we should all return to the trees of East Africa where we all came from originally. I mean, how dare we evolve to life on the savannah and start intruding on the rights of wildebeests and other antelopes, zebras, etc.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • KS_WIS

      How do you know that John? Were you around 10,000 years ago?

      July 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • John


      It is the prevailing understanding that that is where the native "Americans" came from, and that they got here by the land bridge that was created during the last ice age, which was 10,000 years ago. Even JLinMiami understood that.

      Do you know something differently?

      July 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  5. John L

    The anti-Christian bigotry of many leftist bloggers here is fairly transparent. The looney left after battleing to push the Bible out of the public sector they are inviting the koran in. What arrogance, what foolishness what outragiousness. The reality is this, while Muslims persecute non-Muslims in their countries, these same Muslims expect to be treated with respect here and the anti-Christian policially correct left wing of this country are all to eager to embrace this double standard. And it is not just Christians who understand this, Hindus and Budhists feel the same way. When church bells are allowed to ring freely in Muslim countries and Christians can freely practice their faith without fear in Muslim countries, then maybe we can allow Muslim holidays in the West.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Amy

      The "if they do it so will we" argument that many on here are using is weak, in my opinion. To me, the national decisions our country makes should be because we think for ouselves and do for ourselves, whether or not other countries are doing the same or not. Some of the strongest eras in our country have been times when we were the trailblazers, the innovators, the first ones to 'do it'. So waiting around for some other country to do it first seems like a very un-American methodology.

      That being said, I still don't think we should add any type of extra days to the school year calendar.

      July 7, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  6. Amy

    Hey everybody, remember this is a post about SCHOOL holidays not national or "work" holidays. I don't know about the rest of you, but regardless of the reason for the "off day" my kids already get more days off from school than I get off from my job. Teacher work days, extended breaks and summer vacations, and presidents/veteran's day (which my company doesn't recognize as days to grant as holidays) already cause enough trouble for finding childcare when I have to be at work but they don't have to be at school. So even though I am Muslim, I don't think adding more days off to the mix would help any.

    Heck, even if religious holidays of other faiths were nationally recognized as federal days off, it doesn't mean a particular employer would respect that. Our company didn't start recognizing MLK day until last year, and our site is located in Atlanta GA. I guess it didn't matter for a long time that the majority of our employees are also African American, so I would suspect that if a company held a majority Muslim workforce, and there was some type of recognized day off for the Eids, the company may or may not slot it as a day off on their calendar.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  7. Paul

    What we realy need to do is eliminate all religious holidays. Instead, each person should be given 10 days of personal days that may be used for whatever religion or practice that they wish to follow. This could level the field for all people and would not disrupt the lives of those that don't follow the same holiday schedule.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  8. Craig

    Christian holidays are taken off why not do all major religions. If you are going to promote one fairy tale you might as promote the others.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  9. dee

    might as well celebrate every religions holiday!

    July 7, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  10. CnnAfrika

    Hey Guys....this is pretty simple, this country is not a muslim country and its not built or founded based on muslim religion, so why do we have to have a muslim holiday? common ppl, it just doesn't make no dem sense. Either as a christian or not, we cannot go to any muslims countries and asked them to declare certain days as christian holiday, let's all think about it, that's not gonna happen. if it does then that's marks the end of this great country or the begining of downfall of this country turning into a muslim country.

    July 7, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • Craig

      Well that would be why we are better and hold ourselves to better ideals. We are not a Christian country either or at least not supposed to be but we all know that is false. Freedom of religion includes Christianity.

      July 7, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  11. Karen

    I grew up in a mostly Jewish neighborhood. On Jewish holidays there was very few in class and no one complained back then. It also never made the news or was a problem. This country is based on freedom of religion and everyone has the right to their own beliefs. I see no reason that all holidays can be observed. It should be left up to the district to determine the school calendar and the days off.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  12. David

    I don't think so. But I also don't think they should be off for Christian holidays either. Maybe give families something like 2 or 3 roaming holidays, where they can take the children out for whatever reason they see fit.

    July 7, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  13. a slozomby

    growing up in texas i took absences from school for the jewish holidays and made up tests and homework. it wasnt all that big of a deal(once i we got past explaining rosh hashana and yom kippur to the principal). im sorry but the whole world doesnt have to cater to everyone. my folks take off work(vacation day) every year for the high holidays. haven't heard them complain about it once.

    July 7, 2010 at 5:06 am |
  14. MSFF

    How long did it take for Jewish Holidays to be acknowledged?? They're really still not - unless they coincide with Christian holidays!!!!

    Jewish holidays certainly came before other holidays!!!

    July 7, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  15. makak

    I wonder if you were forced to vote for one of the following, which would you choose: add holidays of all religions – or remove all religious holidays?

    July 7, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  16. wellthisisawkward

    I support any holiday that I don't have to work but get paid for it -_-

    July 7, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  17. Christian country

    For those of you who think that America is not a Christian nation, let's do this. We break a part. All Christians and those who really believe in Jesus make one nation and those non-Christians (muslims, atheists, etc) form another nation.

    We will see who will grow faster. I would say the Christian nation will grow faster, why? Because there are good moral values in Christianity. There is pure sacrifice, trust, faith, giving spirit, passion, compassion, love, self-control, etc, etc.

    And inside those non-Christians people there are only bad moral values such egoism, self-centric, no sacrifice, hatred, jealousy, greed, only recognize their rights but not their obligations, unfaithful, receive rather than give mentalism, etc etc.

    America is big because of those Christianity's values, not because of freedom. Good moral values are the foundation of all success including your family. A nation is just the same like a family. If there are no good moral values in your family, don't expect that your family will be harmony.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • David

      I don't think it's a Christian nation. Just because the major organized religion is Christianity, doesn't mean it's a Christian nation. It's kind of like saying this a a heterosexual nation, or a a white nation, the nation shouldn't be defined by it's majority.

      July 7, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  18. family guy


    I'm a Muslim and live in Texas – I take my kids out of school every Eid and don't think we need another holiday – on Christmas; I go to my parent’s house so they can be with their grandparents.

    next time you see your parents , you can beg for their forgivness and save yourself and your children and accept jesus again.
    Jesus has not abandoned you . you and your children can still be saved , maybe you can bring your husband with you and save his lost soul as well.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:26 am |
  19. MikeM

    I guess it would be a fitting tribute to the medieval ignorance promulgated by Islam to take kids out of school. Perhaps while they're at home, the boys can practice beating and throwing acid on their sisters.

    Still, compared to the last Muslim educational initiative that took place at Beslan, I guess that would actually be an improvement.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  20. Connie

    I'm a Muslim and live in Texas – I take my kids out of school every Eid and don't think we need another holiday – on Christmas; I go to my parent’s house so they can be with their grandparents. The schools allow time off for religious celebrations and I don't feel it's necessary to change this – it's getting to the point were Christmas trees are disallowed in the schools to address religious sensitivity – it's going a little bit to far – leave the holidays as it is – I agree that this country was founded on Christian principles thus they have the right to define what holidays they want to celebrate. I personally don’t care as long as I'm not restricted or penalized for taking my kids out of school to celebrate my religious belief.

    July 7, 2010 at 12:02 am |
    • CnnAfrika

      You right Connie, even the spring break they all talking about wasn't called christmas or christians holiday, it just happend that christmas falls within the spring break.

      July 7, 2010 at 9:26 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.