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Muslims students will not get Islamic holidays off during the school year in Montgomery, Maryland.  Montgomery County school leaders adopted a calendar for next school year but did not vote to add time off for Muslim holy days to the school calendar.

In recent months, the Muslim community has been putting pressure on the district for their holidays to be recognized, just as Christian and Jewish holidays are.  They say it is an issue of fairness, though Muslim students are not a majority of the district's population.

Maryland state law provides for school holidays for Christmas and Easter.  Closing schools for Jewish holidays began in the 1970s.  Legally, the district cannot observe a religious holiday.  They can, however, make a consideration if the number of students absent from school is high on the two Islamic holidays the Muslim community wants considered.  The Muslim community encouraged Muslim students to stay home on the two Islamic holidays this year.  But the number of children absent was still under six percent, which district official say is not unusually high to warrant it to be a case for high absenteeism.

What is more, next year the Islamic holidays fall in the summer and on a weekend, making observance for next year not as pressing.  The Montgomery County Board of Education did commit to continue to study the issue.  They asked school officials to look into creating fixed standards for granting such requests.





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