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First Amendment: Politics and perils of closing school for religious holidays
by Charles Haynes
As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will soon discover, adding religious holidays to the school calendar is a slippery slope on the rocky terrain of public school politics.
Earlier this year, the recently elected mayor announced plans to close schools on two Muslim holidays—Eid-Ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and Eid-Ul-Adha (end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca)—and the Lunar New Year, an important holiday for many Asian communities.
Right out of the box, the Association of Indian Americans expressed great disappointment that Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in India and other South Asian countries, didn't make the list.
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