CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Cambridge Public Schools are closed Monday in observance of a Muslim holiday.
Cambridge is the first community in the state to honor Muslims in that way.
A 17-year-old Muslim student from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School prompted the idea for an Islamic holiday every year.
Typically, Muslim students would have to make up all of their assignments when they stayed home on certain holidays.
WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.
On Monday, all public schools will be closed as Muslim families and students celebrate an Islamic holy day called Eid al-Adha.
“Basically, it was a question of fairness as we judged it. We pride itself on inclusiveness and respect,” said Jeff Young, the Cambridge superintendent.
The decision was made in 2010 by the school committee under the recommendation by the superintendent.
“I think Cambridge is proud to be on the forefront. Judiasm and Christianity and Islam are the three major religions in U.S. and in social justice, we felt it was right and we are proud,” said Young.
The Islamic holy day is in remembrance of the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God.
The superintendent said Cambridge does have a significant Muslim population. But, when the decision was made, the school department recieved a lot of hate mail from all over the country.
“People were upset with us, but we took it as affirmation that the decision was right,” said Young.
The superintendent said he does not believe that by closing school Monday it will open the door to every other possible religion asking for holidays as well.
For example, schools in Dearborn, Michigan have been closing for the Muslim holiday for over 10 years.