New York public schools will begin closing to observe two Muslim holidays beginning next school year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The move makes New York the first major American city to close in observance of the Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The city's public school system is the largest in the country with 1.1 million students; Muslim students make up approximately 12 percent of the population, according to a 2008 study.
“The move fulfilled a promise de Blasio made to the Muslim community during the 2013 campaign that made him the first Democrat to run City Hall in 20 years,” according to Bloomberg. “Eid al-Adha, which will be observed Sept. 24 this year, commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God. Eid al-Fitr, which will occur in July 2016, marks the end of the holy month of fasting known as Ramadan.”
The New York Times described the decision as “a watershed moment for a group that has endured suspicion and hostility since the Sept. 11 attacks.”