November 2, 2012

Muslim Council Asks for School Holidays in Broward County, FL

WSVN-TV - FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A religious rift over a proposal to close school for Muslim holidays at a South Florida school district made tempers flare at a Broward County School Board meeting.

The tension was high at the Broward County School Board meeting as a proposal from the Council of American-Islamic Relations to add two days off from school to recognize holidays for Muslim students was discussed Thursday night. "This is not about gaining a religious holiday in any means whatsoever. It is about inclusively, equality and diversity," said Ghazala Salam of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The suggestion to add two days off detoured to a high religious debate and received heated responses. “That the group promoting and are asking for this is associated with terrorism," said Joe Kaufman, who opposed to the calendar change.

Muslims making the request for two days off was backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The Broward County Muslim population as of 2011, is 47,765," said Salam. "The student population in Broward County is 17, 721."

The committee debated whether to take the recommended two days off and designate them as religious holidays. "Change the language to vacation calendar and take the celebration out of it," said Diversity Committee Member Susan Yach.

Though the meeting was extended to an additional hour, committee members were unable to come to an agreement. The Diversity Committee will ask the Calendar Committee to join them to come to a conclusion.

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