A group of Muslim middle school students in Virginia is urging the Obama administration to support the official recognition of Muslim holidays in public schools “throughout the United States of America.”
The kids have taken their appeal to WhiteHouse.gov’s “We the People,” creating a petition that they hope will convince President Barack Obama to back their request.
“With the growing population of Muslims in the United States of America (including first, second, third, and fourth generation) we believe it is high time that Muslim holidays are recognized by schools throughout this nation,” reads the statement associated with it.
The text continues, “Unfortunately many Muslim families are forced to choose between their children’s education and their religious obligations. Muslim school children and staff deserve the same benefits afforded to the followers of other faiths.”
The petition calls on the president to embrace “inclusiveness” by supporting the call for the recognition of Islamic holidays.
As of Wednesday morning, the grievance had nearly 35,000 signatories, falling more than 65,000 names short of the benchmark needed by Jan. 16 to receive an official response from the Obama administration.
The petition came into fruition when middle school students Sumayyah McTaggart, Iman Hazer and Fatimah Dandashi were told by educators to petition the government about an issue they are passionate about, reported Washington, D.C.-based newspaper The Muslim Link.
“We knew each other from the masjid. I used to attend the masjid that Fatima currently attends,” McTaggart told the outlet. “We all ended up in the same civic class and petitioned the government to recognize our holidays in public school.”
The students are hoping that the White House responds and that the publicity will lead Fairfax County, where they attend school, to consider Eid — the commemorative day marking the end of Ramadan — a public school holiday.
Cities with large Muslim populations have already added days to the school calendar for Muslim students. Dearborn, Mich., is one example where this has unfolded and, according to CBN News, districts in Vermont and Massachusetts have followed suit.
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