New York City public schools will now close on two major Muslim holidays, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced Wednesday. The city’s 1.1 million school children will stay home from school on Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, known as the Festival of Sacrifice, making New York City the largest school district in the United States to recognize Muslim holidays in the official public school calendar.
According to the New York Times, school districts in Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey have already started to include the Muslim holy days in their calendars.
Mayor de Blasio, who ran on a campaign to make New York a more tolerant and inclusive city, described the new policy as “a common-sense change.” He said the decision recognized New York City’s growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to the city. He later tweeted that it respects the diversity of the city.
The move was a victory for the city’s Muslim activists who have spent years pressuring city officials to include the holidays in the school calendar, which already recognizes Jewish and Christian holidays.