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NYC Schools to Get Islamic, Lunar Holidays Off

<p>Mayor de Blasio plans to close schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year.</p>

New York’s progressive new mayor is shunning the St. Patrick's Day Parade but embracing Eid al-Fitr — Bill De Blasio's office announced this week that public school will be soon shuttered for Muslim holidays and the Chinese New Year.

Although the mayor hasn’t addressed Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights which is also hugely popular among the city's large South Asian population, he did acknowledge the gradual nature of his plans for the Muslim holy days, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and the Chinese New Year.

“The goal is to get there. I've said repeatedly —it will take time, it is complicated in terms of logistics of school calendar and budget, but it's something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said Monday while on WNYC radio's The Brian Lehrer Show.

Muslim groups like the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations applauded the plans.

"The NYC Muslim community looks forward to finally having the Eid holidays recognized in our public schools. It will be gratifying to know that Muslim children will soon no longer have to choose between honoring and celebrating their faith or missing class," said CAIR-NY Executive Board Member Zead Ramadan in a press release Wednesday.

According to the NYC Independent Budget Office’s annual report on NYC Public School Indicators, students in the city’s public schools come from homes where over 185 languages are spoken and more than 42 percent of the students come from homes where English is not the primary language.