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Sunday Open Thread – Further Establishing Islam in America | Rally for Muslim Holidays in NYC Schools

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Muslims have, alhamdulilah, a long history in America. InshaAllah, too, they will have a long and prosperous future in this country. Crucial to Muslim advancement, I believe, is institutional establishment.

Fundamentally, this means building the masjids, schools and civic centers that will teach, guide and socialize this segment of the ummah. Just as important, however, is continuing our integration into broader American institutions. Unfortunately, there have been several recent campaigns seeking to halt Muslim progress on both these fronts.

So far this year, several efforts to build new masjids across America have met pretty intense opposition. Plans for an Islamic center in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero have elicited national coverage and local protest. It’s tempting to think that such resistance is owed more to the venue than anything else, but events up the bay evidence different motives. In Staten Island, too, an MAS initiative is meeting similar hostility. Both these protests, however, seemingly pale in comparison to the virulently racist clashes in Tennessee over a proposed “mega-mosque.”

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Still, even as Muslims organizations push for a space of their own in New York, they continue efforts for broader inclusion society. The campaign to formally recognize Muslim holidays in New York City public schools clearly illustrates how Muslims aren’t turning in on themselves and seek genuine interaction with the community around them – with the honest expectation of reciprocity. Even though this measure has passed a council vote, obstacles still remain.

Mayor Bloomberg has expressed his opposition to the council’s resolution, and so The Coalition of Muslim School Holidays, the organizational body that’s headed this campaign, is holding a rally at City Hall this Wednesday, June 30 to put added pressure on the mayor. One member of the Coalition spoke at the masjid I attended for jumua prayer and he called on the members of the community to come support this effort for, to paraphrase, last time something like this was held, there were more Jews and Christians than Muslims. On the one hand, I understand him using this point to encourage more Muslim involvement. On the other hand, though, the fact that this campaign (and, to be fair, other campaigns including the ones mentioned above) is getting widespread non-Muslim support bodes well for the future of Islam in America.

What: Muslim Holidays Rally & Press Conference

When: Wednesday, June 30th at 11am

Where: Steps of City Hall

Take the 4, 5, 6 to City Hall/ Brookyln Bridge or 2, 3 Park Place or A, C, to Chambers or R, W trains to City Hall

Contact: For more information, contact fali@cair.com or meligyxxi@yahoo.com.

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Parenting Workshop & Magic/Evil-Eye Workshop @ Houston CLIC Th/Fri:

By MM Specialist Umm Reem

For those in the Houston area, here are some events you may be interested in:

Parenting Workshop: “Get to know your Teenagers”
Thursday: 1-3 PM

“Magic/Evil Eye: Are you Protected”
Friday evening

Both at the Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC)

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Youssef Chouhoud is an assistant professor of political science at Christopher Newport University, where he is affiliated with the Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. Youssef completed his PhD at the Political Science and International Relations program at the University of Southern California as a Provost’s Fellow. His research interests include political attitudes and behavior, survey methodology, and comparative democratization.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. habib

    June 27, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    Salam to all,

    The fact that more support is coming from the non-muslim community is a very sad thing (with respect to muslims not being more engaged) but a very good and possitive sign as well – with regards to non-muslims supporting our causes. What can be cone to solve the situation is that we as muslims have to be more engaged. On top of that we have to get our non-muslims friends to help us.

    Salams.

  2. SisAnon

    June 29, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Assalamu alaykum, I find this very encouraging.
    However when thinking about the inclusion of Muslims holidays in the public school system, one thing that concerns me is that our holidays our based on the lunar calendar and many Muslims decide on the day either a month or few weeks before it arrives based on moon sighting. Therefore some Muslim communities in the country do it on one day and others on the day before or after based on local agreement. In this case, wouldn’t it work against us to have a public school holiday where the day is already fixed from the start of the school year, when Muslims who do moon-sighting don’t yet know when Eid will be? Do you think maybe having the day of Eid be an excused absence for students may be more compatible with our calendar than having a fixed day off for the two Eids? I’m wondering if anyone else has thoughts on this as well insha’allah.

    • Youssef Chouhoud

      June 29, 2010 at 2:54 PM

      W/Salam,

      You bring up a good point. In a sense, this new regulation may also air our community’s dirty laundry viz. the moonsighting dispute. Having grown up in the NYC public school system, I can say for sure that the dates will be set in stone well before the school year – I used to always check to see what dates we’ll have off :P

      I imagine it’s something that the organizers of this campaign thought through, though I don’t know off hand what they concluded.

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