BUFFALO, NY – Nishat Obaid is a senior at DaVinci High School in Buffalo. Nishat says it is important for her to celebrate the Islamic holiday Eid-al-Fitr.
“Eid is important to me because it is a holiday for Muslims where we can spend time with our families and enjoy after the month of Ramadan, or just be able to be grateful for the blessings we have. and create fellowship with praying and creating new memories,” Nishat said.
There are two main holidays celebrated in Islam, Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. But celebrating Eid the way they want isn’t always possible for Muslim students in Buffalo. Eid al-Fitr usually falls during the school year, which is why the Islamic Cultural Center of Buffalo is requesting that Buffalo Public Schools provide Muslim students with vacations.
“This year our Eid is May 2 or May 3, depending on the lunar site, because Eid is. We follow the lunar calendar. If Eid is May 3, we have [an] The AP exam begins on May 3. So if we miss the day, we miss the exam and this exam is really important for our children,” said Fakiha Tanha, Nishat’s aunt.
Nishat echoes this concern. She says that even though it is not an AP exam day, she should still miss school to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
“We constantly have to choose whether or not we’re going to go to school for that day or not. If we don’t go that day, we miss out on valuable information, and homework piles up, and we also waste time with our family if we go to school,” Nishat said.
Leaders of the Buffalo Islamic Cultural Center sent a letter to Lovejoy Councilman Bryan Bollman, whose district is in the center, requesting the Islamic holiday. Councilor Bollman is also chairman of the Buffalo Common Council Education Committee.
“I thought it would be a good place to talk about it and talk about it and bring it to the fore,” Councilor Bollman said.
“Every year, [there are] lots of people moving from different states to Buffalo. Especially a lot of Muslims migrate here from different cities, from different states. Right now in Buffalo, the city is growing. There is diversity here, like all kinds of religions,” he said.
The next step is a discussion with the school district to see how the request could be translated and implemented in Buffalo.
In a statement, the Buffalo Public School District said, “This would not require NYSED approval. Our board has the authority to develop a schedule, but it must meet NYSED requirements for instructional days/hours. per year. Additionally, we have limits on the number of holidays we can include due to BTF contract restrictions.”