Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey, are incensed with a local school board for refusing to close school at the last minute to observe a Muslim holiday.
“We’re no longer the minority, that’s clear from tonight,” one woman told the school board at a meeting last week. “We’re going to be the majority soon.”
Under a plan the school board voted down Thursday, Jersey City schools would have been closed Sept. 24 to observe, Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice,” NBC New York reported.
Last week, the City Council endorsed the closing.
As the date drew near, Jewish members of the community voiced concern that Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur weren’t being recognized by a day off of school.
“Many of our Jewish community members are feeling left out,” parent Roy Tomargo told NBC New York.
Board members added that closing the school on short notice would inconvenience thousands of families.
“Doing this at this point on six days notice for this upcoming holiday is going to cause undue hardship on 5,000 to 10,000 people who are going to have to scramble to get coverage for their children,” board member Gerald Lyons said.
But that didn’t stop the outrage from Muslim members of the audience. Tears and shouts of protest erupted.
“We feel alienated from the Board of Education, we feel alienated from this system,” said Omar Abouelkhair.
New York City schools will be closed for the holiday for the first time, and Muslim Jersey City residents were hoping their schools would follow suit.
The Jersey City Board did emphasize that Muslim students will receive an excused absence should they not attend school on Thursday, NBC New York reported.
Judging from the reaction in the room, that doesn’t seem quite good enough.
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