CAIR-Philadelphia Applauds 16 State School Districts for Adding Muslim Holiday to School Calendar

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 3/9/2023) – The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) today applauded advocacy efforts by Muslim students and parents that resulted in school districts adding the Eid ul-Fitr (EED-UL-FITTER), the holiday marking the end of the Ramadan fast, to the 2023-2024 academic calendar and closing schools on that day.    

CAIR-Philadelphia also offered Muslim parents a template to request school officials provide Muslim students religious accommodations during Ramadan and on Eid ul-Fitr. 

CAIR Community Advisory: Template Offered for Requesting Religious Accommodations for Muslims Students This Ramadan, Eid

In central and Southeastern Pennsylvania 16 school districts have recognized Eid on their calendar. These are: School District of Philadelphia, Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, Great Valley School District, North Penn School District, Upper Darby School District, Spring-Ford Area School District, West Chester Area School District, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Owen J. Roberts School District, Downingtown Area School District, Coatesville Area School District, Radnor School District, Council Rock School District, Derry Township School District, Perkiomen Valley School District, and Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. 

[NOTE: CAIR-Philadelphia calls on students and parents interested to start Eid advocacy on their districts to request a focus group listening session in their area by contacting CAIR-Philadelphia’s Student Leadership and Advocacy Projects Coordinator Asiyah Jones at

Starting with the efforts of Philadelphia Eid Coalition, the push to recognize Eid in school calendars has been a key mobilizer for Muslim community. In the last three years, CAIR- Philadelphia has worked to increase pathways for parents and students to mobilize and advocate in their school boards.  

Derry Township School District in Hershey, Pennsylvania is one of the newest districts to add Eid ul-Fitr to the 2023-2024 academic year and close schools in observance.    

The board’s unanimous decision, which was voted on February 13, came after CAIR- Philadelphia’s partnership with parents and students in focus group meetings and conversations with the school district administration.  

[NOTE: There are two major “Eid” holidays for Muslims. Eid ul-Adha (EED-UL-ADHA), commonly referred to as just “Eid,” is associated with the pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, and commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During Eid ul-Fitr (EED-UL-FITTER) or “feast of fast breaking” holiday at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, Muslims offer public prayers, exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.]       

In a statement, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Dr. Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu said:    

“We’re proud of the students and parents in all school districts across Pennsylvania who’ve advocated for Eid accommodation. We celebrate their efforts and know that we will be working with an increased number of districts across our region to achieve the same outcome in partnership with them.  

“We call on school districts, whether they currently have Eid on their calendar or not, to also pay attention to students’ needs during Ramadan. From lunch period accommodations to teacher’s awareness of Ramadan these needs emerged as vital areas of focus in our focus group sessions with Muslim students across the region.”

See: Council Rock to Recognize Eid as School Holiday in 2023-24

CAIR- Philadelphia encourages educators to review its Educators’ Guide to Islamic Religious Practices and request trainings on the subject. 

See: CAIR-PA Educators’ Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

On March 8, CAIR-Philadelphia’s Student Leadership and Advocacy Projects Coordinator Asiyah Jones, together with student intern George Lane, led a conversation for School District of Philadelphia’s Equity in Practice series, reflecting on key Muslim inclusion and equity concerns. In their presentation Jones and Lane welcomed Philadelphia School Board’s renewed adaptation of a 2-year calendar that recognizes both Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. The recognition came following recent engagement by CAIR- Philadelphia together with other Muslim organizations and leaders with the School District’s new superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington, Sr. and his team.  

See: Philly school board denies 4 charter applications, approves 2023-24 calendar

Reflecting on their journeys to get Eid recognized in their school districts the parents from different school districts said: 

“Recently the Hershey Muslim families, had the discussion amongst themselves, to have Eid recognized on the DTSD school calendar. To speed up the process, parents, students and members of the Hershey Islamic Center came together and opened dialogue with the Hershey school superintendent, Dr. Stacy Winslow. We are so grateful to Dr. Winslow and on behalf of the entire Hershey Muslim community, thank the DTSD board to honor our request. By God’s grace, the DTSD students will now be able to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr 2024 with a school day off and enjoy the holiday of Eid!” Shazia Hafiz, Derry Township School District Parent 

“Few years ago, I stumbled upon a School Board Meeting with no intention of attending. But fate intervened, and what I saw left an indelible impression on me. A few Muslim sisters from the local community were advocating for the recognition of Eid as an official holiday in front of the Board Members. Their dedication and perseverance struck a chord in my heart, and I felt inspired to join their cause. … With the help of dedicated community members, sisters, and kids, we managed to achieve this goal in many different school districts in Pennsylvania. The increased awareness of Muslim faith and culture that followed brought a renewed sense of hope and belonging to our children, erasing the pain of exclusion and replacing it with joy and inclusivity.” Sabzar Mir, a Downingtown area parent who also was instrumental in helping families across multiple school districts with their advocacy. 

“I was proud to see so many of our community members, both parents and students, mobilize to have Eid recognized on the GVSD calendar. We exhibited the strengths of advocacy, unity, and mutual understanding. We appreciate GVSD Board’s positive approach to our request and hope this step has paved the way for greater equity and inclusion for our Muslim community.” Ejaz Khan, Great Valley School District parent.

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, PhD; 617-401-5397 (mobile),