CUNY should recognize Eid al-Fitr as an official observed holiday



The Editorial Board

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims all around the world fast from sunrise to sunset, followed by the Eid al-Fitr celebration marking the end of the month.

While approximately one in every 10 New York City residents identify as Muslim, CUNY still does not recognize the religious holiday. This forces students to pick between observing this sacred holiday or attending their classes and is a direct contradiction to an institution that prides itself on creating an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion.

CUNY should follow New York City public schools in giving the day off for both Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, something they have done since March 2015.

CUNY honors many religious holidays including Lunar New Year, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Good Friday, Easter and Passover. Not acknowledging Eid Al-Fitr may cause Muslim students to feel excluded and not welcome in their educational community.

This year, Eid will fall between May 1 – 3 depending on the sighting of the moon. However, even if the holiday is celebrated on a Sunday, having the day marked nonetheless on Baruch College and CUNY-wide calendars is an important message of inclusivity toward students.

This would also allow non-Muslim students to learn more about the holiday and shed light on the most commonly asked questions during Ramadan.

Such as: why do Muslims fast?

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is required by every Muslim, excluding the ill, pregnant, nursing, menstruating, traveling, young children and the elderly. Muslims fast to make the rich and the poor equal in terms of asking for forgiveness for their past sins.

During the month, they are encouraged to perform good deeds, give to the less fortunate and renew their awareness of and gratitude for everything God has provided in their lives — including the Qur’an, which was first revealed during this month.

Muslims abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking cigarettes, chewing gum and engaging in any sexual activity between dawn and sunset. Muslims also wake up well before dawn, Suhoor, to eat the first meal of the day.

This means eating lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn. At sunset, Muslims break their fast with a meal called Iftar. Guests are welcome during the meal, and the host receives a great reward for preparing Iftar.

With that being said, CUNY should stand with its thousands of Muslim students and observe one of their most holy holidays.