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May 31, 2016

Philadelphia School District to recognize two more Islamic holidays

Politics Holidays
School District of Philadelphia headquarters Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia headquarters on North Broad Street.

The city of Philadelphia intends to officially recognize a pair of Islamic holidays.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite announced Tuesday the plan to add Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated after the annual Hajj pilgrimage, to the school district's holiday calendars.

“Since the start of my term as Mayor, I’ve been committed to working to make the city a more diverse and inclusive place for all,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m grateful to the stakeholders and leaders [who] stand with me today to advance inclusion in the many ways that residents practice their faith and religion.”

The policy will go into effect for the 2016-2017 school year. Students, parents and staff will be reminded about the excused absences policy to allow students to observe holidays.

“I’m honored and proud to announce that the School District fully intends to honor the EID celebrations for the many Muslim students and staff [who] celebrate these holidays,” said Superintendent Hite.

On Jan. 21, City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution recognizing the two holidays.

“William Penn established Philadelphia as a city for religious freedom,” said Councilman Jones, who introduced the resolution. “Today we continue our founder’s creed by the recognition of the EIDs for our Islamic community.”

Mayor Kenney also announced the establishment of the Mayor’s Task Force on Cultural Inclusion, which is designed to help the city acknowledge religious holidays.