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Community News
Baltimore Holds Special Hearing On Eid School Holidays PDF Print E-mail
Community News - Community News
Written by Hena Zuberi, Muslim Link Staff Reporter   
Friday, 27 March 2015 19:29

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For years, Baltimore County has been listening to Muslims asking for Eid as a public school holiday. On March 16, 2015, the Baltimore County Board of Education finally held a special hearing about the addition of Eid on the school calendar.

“This was a unique hearing [and] a great opportunity and we are hoping that this committee will be more understanding,” said Muhammad Jameel, President of the Islamic Society of Baltimore. About 18 students, parents and activists gave testimonies in support of recognizing Eid as an official holiday at the Board of Education meeting.

The Policy Review Committee of the BOE is hopeful to make meaningful recommendations, said the Chair Romaine Williams.

“Yesterday was amazing,” said Dr Bashar Pharoan. A school holiday for Eid has been on Dr “Bash”’s radar since 1996 when his three sons were students in the Baltimore County Public School System. 

He got involved in the holiday committee when his sons brought home material that contained offensive and incorrect information about Arabs and Islam and were asked to sing religious songs during a Christmas concert at school.

That year the holiday committee agreed to close for Jewish and Muslim holidays, until a last minute change by the Superintendent put only the Jewish holidays on the calendar. Feeling betrayed, Pharoan's activism declined until 2004 when he started— once again— campaigning for official recognition and inclusion of the Eid holiday.

It is hard to put a figure on the number Muslims in the county since the census does not gather data on religious affiliation. Masjid memberships are also not a good indicator, according to Pharoan, because the overwhelming majority of Muslims – tens of thousands – use masjid facilities without registering for membership.

It is disingenuous for the BOE to ask for figures as that was not the criteria for previously sanctioned holidays not listed in the Code of Maryland regulations such as Rosh Hashana, said ISB's Jameel who has been involved since 2002.

Pharoan testified at the BOE again after the March 16 hearing and asked the board to provide statistics for the approval of Jewish holidays in the 1990s.

Pharaon, a gastroenterologist surgeon who has been a resident of Baltimore County for more than 40 years, is certain that the Muslim population is higher than the Jewish population in Baltimore County. 

He said masjid leaders need to be more active in educating their audience about this issue. “[I’m] not blaming the leaders —who have plenty on there plate— just that [this] topic needs to be given higher priority,” says Pharoan. He really hopes that Muslims encourage their children to become teachers. “If we don’t have Muslim teachers in schools then students [will not] look up to those who have different beliefs,” he said.

If parents kept their children home for Eid that will practically have an impact on schools in the system with large Muslim populations, said Jameel. Celebrating Eid involves attending a congregational prayer which is a religious obligation.

Eid in public schools is about equality. When Muslim children see their friends celebrating many students feel left out and start thinking that their religion is not a welcomed or recognized religion, said Pharoan.

Optimistic that attitudes have slowly changed towards understanding in the past 20 years, Pharaon and Jameel know it’s a slow process but that eventually Eid will take its place among other holidays in the Baltimore County public school system.

To join the effort to get involved with equality for Eid in Baltimore County, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
Area Youth Convene to Discuss Murder of Chapel Hill College Students PDF Print E-mail
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Community News - Community News
Written by Rana Khan, Muslim Link Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 19 March 2015 21:31

It was a crime that sent deep shudders within the American Muslim community. 

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Youth Compete to Resolve Conflicts at Annual Essay Panel Competition PDF Print E-mail
Community News - Community News
Written by Raadia Khan, Muslim Link Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 19 March 2015 21:27

One hundred and fifteen bright-eyed competitors headed to the annual Essay Panel Competition (EPC) at Dar-at-Taqwa in Ellicott City, MD on February 7, 2015 ready to deliver their groundbreaking ideas on conflict management in speech format, posters, PowerPoint presentations and short films. 

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Green Muslims Springing Back to Life, Eco-Activism PDF Print E-mail
Community News - Community News
Written by Hena Zuberi, Muslim Link Staff Reporter   
Thursday, 19 March 2015 21:14

Asma Mahdi, a California transplant to the DC Metro area, misses the Big Blue that she worked to help protect as a student of the environmental sciences.

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