Governor’s Council Backs Excused Holidays for Muslim Students

November 19, 2005

Source: The Oklahoman

On November 19, 2005 The Oklahoman reported, "The Governor's Advisory Council on Ethnic American Affairs wants to make it easier for Muslim children to get excused from school on their faith's two most important holidays. Council members voted unanimously Friday to send a letter to every Oklahoma school district providing the dates for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, explaining their importance to the Islamic faith and requesting that Muslim children receive excused absences on those days. 'This is a very contentious issue in our part of the state, and you have to do it district by district,' said council chairman Sandra Kaye Rana of Tulsa. Every school district sets its own attendance policies and decides whether religious holidays are excused or unexcused absences, said council member Malaka Elyazgi of Norman... Providing schools with dates for the two holidays is no simple matter because Muslims follow the lunar calendar, and each lunar month begins with the sighting of the new moon, leading to regional differences in the exact dates, according to the Islam Online website."