CAIR Community Advisory: Template Offered for Requesting Religious Accommodations for Muslims Students This Ramadan, Eid
(PITTSBURGH, PA, 3/21/2023) – The Pittsburgh Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Pittsburgh), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released a template message for American Muslim parents to request school officials provide Muslim students religious accommodations on Eid ul-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Ramadan fast.
This year, the month of Ramadan began on or about Wednesday, March 22, and will end on or about Thursday, April 20. The Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the fast, will begin on or about Friday, April 21. Because many Muslims calculate the start and end of Ramadan and Eid based on moon sightings, it is common for Muslims to have different views about when Ramadan and Eid start and end.
TEMPLATE MESSAGE TO SCHOOL OFFICALS
CAIR’s template letter states in part:
“As the parent of [student name], I request that they be allowed to observe Ramadan and Eid in accordance with their beliefs and well-established law. Allowing breaks to begin or conclude their fast and allowing brief breaks for prayer during the day are reasonable and will not interrupt school and administrative functions. In previous instances, school administrators have accommodated students by allowing them to leave class to go to a private multipurpose or activity room to conduct their daily prayers, along with providing students with the choice to attend a study hall instead of a lunch period during Ramadan.
“I also request that [student name] be given an excused absence on [date] to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their family, friends, and community. Any schoolwork missed or tests can be made up. Please do not hesitate to contact me to further discuss providing these accommodations while continuing to promote a safe and supportive school environment. Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
In a statement, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw said:
“It is crucial for school officials to recognize the significance of Ramadan for their Muslim students and to create open spaces for fasting during this holy month, and prayer throughout the year. Muslim parents whose children attend schools without designated prayer spaces or areas for fasting students should contact their child’s school and request necessary accommodations. By working together, we can ensure that Muslim students feel welcomed, respected, and supported in their schools during this holy month and beyond.”
BACKGROUND ON EID AND RAMADAN:
Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), comes near the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
During Eid ul-Fitr or “feast of fast breaking” holiday, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds. During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning “blessed Eid,” and “taqabbalallah ta’atakum,” or “may God accept your deeds.” Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following communal prayers.
Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from the break of dawn to sunset. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God’s commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the “five pillars” of Islam.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Pittsburgh Executive Director Christine Mohamed, 412-606-3601, email@example.com