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Muslim community urge Hamden board of Education to add Eid to school calendar

"One of the beautiful things about Hamden is diversity"

HAMDEN, Conn. — Muslim students and their parents faced the Board of Education Tuesday evening and urged them to add a holiday to the school calendar. 

The meeting started at 7 p.m. and lasted for four hours. 

Hamden has a large Muslim community and they wanted the Board of Ed to understand the importance of Eid and why it should not be treated any differently than other cultural holidays. 

"One of the beautiful things about Hamden is diversity," said a Hamden student. 

The meeting room was packed to the point where students and parents sat on the floor, eager to join their brothers and sisters in taking a stand for their culture and religion. 

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Board of Ed members listened patiently as Muslim students made their voices heard. 

"Truly celebrating diversity includes accommodating change and providing equity for all of our students. Christians and Jewish students get their holidays off," said another student.

Some explained what Eid really means, a holiday that follows Ramadan. Students broke down the process of fasting and getting up early to pray. 

They said by the time Eid comes around, they are exhausted but still feel obligated to wake up early for school.

"It’s not just for the fun. We also go for praying, to spend time with our family, to enjoy the one holiday that means everything to us, to express our faith, to be brothers and sisters all around the place, to enjoy the community, to have our cookouts," said another student.

Others argued they take a leave of absence on the day of Eid, something they do not necessarily want to do.

"Those of us that do take the day off to observe this holiday, however, stressed out about the class work, homework and quizzes that will need to be made up the following day," said another student.

A decision was not made Tuesday. Board of Ed members said they remain optimistic and if Eid is added to the calendar, it would be for the next school year.