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.

Comments (66)
  1. A. Charles Beddoe says:

    This is a dreadful idea. Where does it end? How many religions get holidays? Who decides? Note that there are more atheists than either Muslims or Jews. Where is their holiday?
    The only fair and inclusive solution is to not observe ANY religious holidays. This is what we did in the Town of Harvard.

    1. Tsal says:

      In Harvard you do not have Christmas off??? Please don’t say it’s during a vacation week. None means just that. NONE

      1. A. Charles Beddoe says:

        Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc. are all civic holidays. We are talking about days off that are religious holidays and not civic holidays.

      2. Tsal says:

        Christmas is not a civic holiday. It is the most holy of the Christian holidays. If religious ho,Kraus go then it goes too. Although Christians won’t see it that way since they are used to making the calla. Tough when another religion wants holy days too.

      3. Tsal says:

        Darn iPad and auto correct. If “religious holidays go then Christmas goes too”

      4. A. Charles Beddoe says:

        Christmas is a legal holiday, federal and state. A school board cannot contravene that. It is the only legal holiday that can be construed as religious, but of course the early Christian church chose that date to coincide with existing pagan celebrations. Christmas is a legal holiday in many non-Christian countries, its commercial value being well recognized.

      5. tsal says:

        Christian Double talk, A. Charles Beddoe – it is a religious holiday and it does not matter what labels this country or any others have put on it. The Christians can’t let go of one holiday but expect every other religion to forgo its holidays.

    2. gramps says:

      Look up Quran 5:51

  2. Kevin Sheehan says:

    dont forget Easter and good Friday o wait that’s on a vacation as well wait not there is also the Jewish holidays our country was founded on religious tolerance and your showing none Muslims or Jews and Christians are part of the three largest religions and if schools give the Jewish and Christian holidays off they should also give the Muslim ones as well

  3. A. Charles Beddoe says:

    Easter is on Sunday – doesn’t count.
    Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc. are legal holidays. If you don’t think that’s fair, take it up with Congress. You are missing the point that observing some holidays from some religions is inherently unfair and exclusive, not fair and inclusive.

    1. Tsal says:

      My point is that Christians will scream like little children if you even suggest taking away their holiday. You can use all the rhetoric you want but even a child knows christmas is a holiday because it is a Christian celebration. Taking it away IMHO would be inexcusable. It’s one of the holiest of days in the Christian religion. It’s time that Christians realize their faith is no more important than any other faith or non-faith. Time….but it’ll never happen. religious intolerance is alive and well in the united states.

      1. John Decker says:

        My point is that Christians will scream like little children if you even suggest taking away their holiday.

        And that’s worse than killing people because they won’t convert to your religion?

      2. A. Charles Beddoe says:

        The last week of the calendar year has been a school vacation for a long time. Christmas became a federal holiday only in 1870. The real reason for the winter break is the pagan celebration of the solstice; Chrsitmas just happens to occur around then for historical reasons.

      3. tsal says:

        It doesn’t matter – if all religious holidays go then Christmas has to be one of them. If that’s the reason for the winter break then I’d say it’s overdo for a change as well.

      4. tsal says:

        Really? That is a very sad but very typical comment. The Muslims in Cambridge are not the EXTREME Muslims who attacked the Trade Buildings. And putting the Muslims aside for a moment – let’s think about the Jewish religion. It’s only been a matter of decades since the Jews have been given the time to celebrate their holiest holidays. And that is only in some places – many towns do not celebrate Jewish holidays. It’s only taken a few hundred years to get to that place – sort of get to that place I should say. Please do not tell me this is because they are muslim. We do this to any non-Christian or non-believer.

        Before you accuse me of being any of those. I’d scream the loudest if anyone took Christmas day away. It is far and away my very favorite day of the year. However, as humans – decent human beings – we have to stop treating people and cultures differently. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God. It only matters how you treat others. We are a country with a history of prejudice and persecution and I’m not seeing it going away any time soon. This discussion is just more proof of it to me. If the holidays are taking away too much time from school then they have to go. No rhetoric about Christmas remaining. They ALL go.

    1. gramps says:

      How long will it be b/4 Cambridge replace’s ‘Turkey’ on Thanksgiving with a ‘Tastey Goat’ on every table! ….Would you like ‘fries’ with that?…….Conservative Islam currently prescribes/calls for women to recieve ’10’ lashes for driving a car!!! Wonder how that would be delt with in Harvard Square down the road once these kids grow up?

      September 27, 2011
      CAIRO — A Saudi woman was sentenced Tuesday to be lashed 10 times with a whip for defying the kingdom’s prohibition on female drivers, the first time a legal punishment has been handed down for a violation of the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation……..Normally, police just stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo….


      1. gramps says:

        Nothing has changed in 225 years, will we ever learn?…….Because of ‘ Islamic Pirates….In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman . Upon inquiring “concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury”, the Islamic ambassador replied:

      1. gramps says:

        They wanted ‘Greenbacks!/Ransom so the USA could trade with other Nations.

        The U.S. paid Algiers the ransom, and continued to pay up to $1 million per year over the next 15 years for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. Payments in ransom and tribute to the ‘Islamic’ privateering states amounted to ’20 percent’ of United States government annual revenues in 1800…..!!!!

        We, the USA, via the peoples republic of Cambridge……”are still paying ‘TRIBUTE’!……’22’ decades later!


  4. Tsal1 says:

    Easter isn’t a recognized holiday in MA.   And vacation isn’t centered around it.  Just Christmas   If they all go Christmas has to go too.  And this country was founded on anything but religious tolerance. The pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution and then insisted all worship as they did.  We have never tolerated different religions

    Trees comment is a perfect example

    1. A. Charles Beddoe says:

      You are confusing the colonies with the country. The U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom by the separation of church and state.

      1. Stanley11 says:

        It does not. “Separation of Church and State” is nowhere to be found in the US Constitution.

  5. emom says:

    Curisous I am not sure but is Christmas on a vacation week. I mean Our kids are out of school for a week on this holiday and some times Easter lands on spring break. just saying.

  6. Terry Furlough says:

    So.. Saudi Arabia and Iran will celebrate Christmas this year also, right?

    1. A. Charles Beddoe says:

      Christmas is a public holiday in Nigeria, Ethipoia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, as well as Europe and the Americas. Many of these have tiny minority Christian populations.

  7. emom says:

    Curious, If some are looking for their own holiday, will they partake in a christian holiday, taking it off as does others, Like easter , christmas and other holidays. such as Thanksgiving. , If so can we have their holidays off, I mean they would be having our days off as well as their own.. Just wondering .

    1. tsal says:

      emom – they are not given a choice to work or take the time off. They are also not given a choice to take their holidays off. Go figure.

  8. Jay Williams says:

    It’s only been 10 short years since 9/11 and already we have the far-left librerals of Cambridge deciding that it would be nice to have a holiday for the few dozen Muslims in their midst. It’s bad enough that we all have to Press 1 for English when we shop or talk on the phone and now this. Where will all of this madness end? Why don’t they just cut the school year to 90 days per year and get it over with. It’s beginning to look like teachers have more days off than homeless people.

    1. blackbear1 says:

      Jay, I was just about to thank you for your post. However, I don’t know where the reference to the length of the school year and teachers came into it.

  9. John Rice says:

    I want Festivus observed. I relish observing the Annual Airing of Grievances.

    1. Sean O'Hair says:

      Terrific idea for the rest of us. Is it any wonder other parts of the country truly believe that our water supply is contaminated by a touch of lunacy?

    2. Stanley11 says:

      Sure thing John, but you’re going to have to bring the Festivus Pole this time….

    3. Stanley11 says:

      No joke….The Festivus episode of Seinfeld was on tonight….LOL

  10. Reality is Scary says:

    I love how all the delusional people on here actually believe their god is better than another mans god. Religion is the most insane fairytale ever told to man. Far crazier than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. The mentally ill and psychologically weak are drawn to this this crutch of society so they don’t have to face dying and that being the end. The irony of religion is the stuff of legends. Islam and Christianity are equal in every way. It’s one cult vs another cult. Both are vindictive, both are murderous, and most of all…both are insane.
    Gramps..sorry pal, but there’s no golden gates. Keep hoping.

    1. gramps says:

      Morning ‘Scary’,

      I agree with you!

      Structured Religions with the exception of ‘Islam’, are wonderful outlets for people who fear death, constantly need their hands held or were never taught right from wrong….

      When people thank ‘God’ for winning some trophy it turns my stomach, does that mean he/she dislikes the other players/team?…pure ‘DRIBBLE’!

      I was born & raised catholic, 12 years of ‘sisters & brothers, until I reached the age of reason…..


      1. Willow says:

        No one is born any religion, Catholic or otherwise. You are raised in the faith your parents choose to raise you in, but you are born either a boy or girl….period! I don’t think Catholic shows up on any DNA marker.

      2. Willow says:

        No one is ‘born” Catholic or any other religion. You may have been raised as such, but not born as such. I don’t think Catholic shows up on any DNA marker.

  11. Frunkis says:

    Where is my day off for my observance of the FSM? Holiday, Pastaover and Ramandan? All sacred to me!

    1. Tony T. says:

      “Pastaover”. Hey Frunkis, is that a new Italian holiday?

  12. JohnFLob says:

    “…The Islamic holy day is in remembrance of the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God….”

    Why should the Muslims claim this event to be THEIR holiday? This event occurred several centuries before the birth of Muhammad and the eventual founding of Islam. It is an event shared with Christian and Jewish religious histories.

    Was Ishmael the son that Abraham was willing to sacrifice? I ask because Ishmael is the son of Abraham that Islam/Muslims use to justify their claim of a shared history with the Christian and Jewish religions. Recall the Ishmael is the son that Abraham had with Hagar, his wife Sarah’s maid. One quick link

    1. Willow says:

      You are absolutely correct. Isaac is the son Abraham was brought for sacrifice. I never ague with unbelievers because it goes nowhere, and in my opinion, dishonoring to God. I believe the bible when it says that one day, every knee shall bow. Even the knees of the unbelievers. I say let Islam have their holiday. A day off doesn’t hurt, but harsh words do.

  13. FireGuyFrank says:

    If the schools were closed for Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur, then I am fine with that. Just as long as ALL religious holidays are given the same treatment.

    Of course, what this could lead to is year-round school because you have to get the days in sometime.

    1. tsal says:

      Frank that is exactly what I have been saying. So-called Christians have a problem with giving any of their holidays however because for some reason the rules do not apply to them. If they were really Christians of course they would understand all are equal.

      One idea that I believe some school systems used to use before the Jewish holidays were made available was to not assign homework or schedule tests for high holy days in various religions. That way if the kids missed school, they didn’t miss homework assignments or tests.

  14. emom says:

    If we allow other people to have their sacred days off then will they also partake in the same holidays we as Americans have off, from both work and school. If so will we as Americans also have their days off. I see only one problem. The fairness of some having more time off and some picking up the slack for them at a job and some not making up work in a school, Just saying if it is allowed it will have to be for all , to make it fair for all.
    But once again some holidays we celebrate may not be celebrated in their native country. But you can celebrate it for once self. Just not the entire country.. So much controversy. And no happy medium.

  15. jaygee says:

    Just reading the many posts that have come up because of what the Republic of Cambridge has done today, only proves how organized religion is the principal reason for most of the problems of the world. Hindu’s hate Muslims, Catholics & Muslims have no use for anyone that doesn’t believe in only their “true religion”, religious fanatics of the right hate anyone who question their Bible and on and on and on. We won’t even mention how many so-called “religious peoples’ hate the Jews!. Having been raised in the Catholic faith, whick I left many years ago, I find the most lasting pleasure in my life is simply NOT going to any church. I have always found that after coming in contact with those who claim to be so devout, I have a strong feeling that I must immediately wash my hands.

    1. tsal says:

      jaygee – when I was younger all of my friends were Catholic. They told me that because I was protestant I would burn in hell. Amazing what religions teach isn’t it. I also remember and have said as much on these blogs the citizens of Belmont furious because a Jewish temple was being constructed there. I can’t begin to say how many catholic and protestant churches there are. I was about five and even then I could not understand how others felt so much prejudice. And I remember the Republican cry that you should not allow a catholic into the white house – that of course was when JFK was elected.

      We have a very sad history and have yet to learn a thing.

    2. gramps says:

      Speaking of washing your hands…..

      How long will it be B/4 the people of Cambridge install ‘foot baths’ in all it’s schools?


  16. sloopjohnB2 says:

    What a joke! Political correctness run amok in moonbat land!

  17. emom says:

    What would Charlie Brown do,, GOOD GRIEF. and all he was doing was trying to find the meaning of Christmas. Wheres Lucy and her Physiatrist box.

  18. Mark says:

    Separation of church & state. Public schools are not religious institutions. Therefore no religious holidays should be granted to anyone. How many wars were fought because of religious beliefs? The catholics & muslims have been going at it for centuries. Even Gandhi couldn’t get the hindus & muslims together hence india & pakistan who by the way are still disputing some unhabitable land between them. Reilgious fanatics have killed more people in the name of god or allah than any government. There is no satisfying any of you “believers”.

    1. gramps says:

      Deaths in the name of ‘god & religion’.

      Religion has caused the deaths of eight hundred & nine million, two hundred & fifteen thousand, seven hundred & thirty two, that’s 809,215,732, per ‘GOOGLE’….In alphabetical order:

      Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49….Algeria, 1992-….Baha’is, 1848-54….Bosnia, 1992-95

      Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901….Christian Romans, 30-313 CE…Croatia, 1991-92

      Early Christian doctrinal disputes….English Civil War, 1642-46….Holocaust, 1938-45

      Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598….India, 1992-2002….India: Suttee & Thugs….

      Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947….Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-….Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92

      Jews, 1348….Jonestown, 1978….Lebanon 1860 1975-92….Martyrs, generally….

      Molucca Is., 1999-….Mongolia, 1937-39….Northern Ireland, 1974-98….

      Russian pogroms: 1905-06 1917-22….St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572

      Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE….Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38

      Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91….Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834….Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64

      Thirty Years War, 1618-48 Tudor England….Vietnam, 1800s….Witch Hunts, 1400-1800

      Xhosa, 1857


      1. gramps says:

        In addition, conflicts where dissimilar ethnic groups fought for primarily religious reasons:

        Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE….Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-….Al Qaeda, 1993-

        Crusades, 1095-1291….Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609….Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s….

        So going to church is just like attending ‘BOOTCAMP’ for the next ‘holy war’ group sacrafice!


  19. Idiocy says:

    Not here to spew hate, honestly if they want to add one more day off for kids that’s fine as long as it is understood that the more holidays they give off, the longer the kids will be in school in the Summer. What I find so concerning is that this country is slowly losing long-held traditions in order to placate people who are coming here now, or recently – what ever happened to assimilating into a society? I am Catholic but have not practiced in years, very disenchanted with religion, but I don’t fault anyone who believes and practices. But I don’t think we need to be changing what has gone on in our country for DECADES to try to appease newcomers. “Holiday Trees”??? “Spring Bunny”??? Really? Take away the fun of millions of kids so we don’t offend anyone? It’s insanity. I don’t hear other religions having to rename anything. Jewish, Muslim, etc. don’t have to rename anything in their religions in the name of not offending, why should anyone have to? WHY let go of long-held traditions? Someone commented on press 1 for English, if I go to France I don’t hear press 1 for French !

    1. tsal1 says:

      Idiocy – the long held tradition of prejudice should be ended. And that’s exactly what we are talking about here. As far as changing names – every name the schools have had as long as I can remember – and that goes back a long way – was for something that was Christian. I grew up in a community with a heavy population of Jewish folks. My friends had to learn all of the Christmas songs for the Christmas concert. Not only did those who were Christian learn songs from any other culture, but I felt as if I were somehow being short changed because I didn’t get to learn the way of life other than mine.

      1. Idiiocy says:

        Continuing long-held traditions are not prejudice, racist, or offensive. It is called celebrating. Continually changing something to try to please others is actually prejudice to the ones losing the tradition. A good friend of mine is from another country, and she comes here in December every year because she really enjoys seeing all the lights and festivities, somehow she doesn’t end up feeling offended or short-changed.

      2. tsal says:

        Idiocy if the traditions are prejudiced to begin with – which the Christmas pageants were – then yes they are. I understand that it goes too far. Saying the spring bunny instead of Easter bunny is ridiculous. However, changing a concert held at Christmas time which is also a time of celebration for other religions and not including songs and traditions from those religions is prejudiced.

        The thing is I can understand why it’s gone to the other extreme. Even here Christians are making foolish excuses why Christmas should remain a holiday even if all others go. I knew when I mentioned Christmas being eliminated the excuses would run rampant. Christians have a strong history of pushing so hard that when it comes time to push back you have to do so even harder and in most cases to extremes.

        If Christians would be willing to be inclusive then there would be no need for any of this. They are not and they never, ever have been.

      3. tsal says:

        Idocy if your good friend lived here and the symbols of her celebrations or religious holidays were not displayed – ever – I suspect she’d be offended.

  20. Denise says:

    From what I hear – the Good Ol’ USA is the only country that bends over backwards for those that flock here! We can’t offend anyone, leave anyone out, everyone must win! bla bla bla… No wonder this country is becoming a third world country – we’re going backwards instead of forward.

    The school systems are suppose to teach how to survive in this world – not hate and intollerance – that’s the job of the parents! LOL…

    Who cares if they give the kids another day off – they have to go to school for X amount of days – between teacher conferences, “holidays”, school breaks, snow days as long as they meet their commitment to teach the kids X amount of days – I’ld rather know when they graduate that they can read, write and pay their bills – vs wasting time on what days they had off.

  21. Tsal1 says:

    Denise your ancestors “flocked here” too.

    1. gramps says:

      But…..This group rather than adapting & blending into society wants to make their ‘own’ rules, as evidenced by:

      Hertz has fired 25 Muslim workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for refusing to clock out while taking breaks to pray during their shifts…..

      2 coffee breaks a day is customary in the US…..Islam/Muslims feels they are ‘entitled’ to ‘5’!!!

      If it’s not ‘Sharia Law’, your Employers rules just don’t apply…

      They’re so ‘special’.


      1. Tsal1 says:

        How is north end or southie or Chinatown blending.  Each group has it’s own area in all major cities and many towns.  Expecting to celebrate your religious holidays is something that should be “expected”.  It’s a given.  Well except for those who feel America is a Christian country and it should be all about them.  

        That’s an odd comment.  Jews also leave work early in many cases on Friday.  Every one I know and every Muslim that works with my husband works whatever hours it takes to make up that time.

  22. Jen K says:

    I am a devout Christian, and I have no problem w/ the idea of a Muslim holiday being held sacred, just as Christmas is. People mentioning Thanksgiving are totally off the mark here, as that is an AMERICAN holiday, not associated w/ any particular religion. I have friends of many different faiths who celebrate Thanksgiving. What I would like to know is, what is the ratio of Muslims to Jews in this district? Do the Jewish students have any of their holy days recognized?

    1. Tsal says:

      Good comment It’s just common sense. I know the towns who have a high population of Jewish folks have holidays now. But even if there are a few there should be accommodations such as no homework or tests.

      1. A. Charles Beddoe says:

        Why? Why do you accord people’s belief in imaginary friends and magic such respect? The next step is to not teach anything that conflicts with people’s imaginary world. This is madness and unreason.
        People’s freedom to practice their religions is guaranteed, but it is their choice and the burden is on them to make it work, not on us.
        If you want to close your business for religious reasons, fine. But don’t close our school for your convenience.

  23. Denise says:

    Tsal1 I never said they didn’t flock here. However they also became citizens they didn’t stay here as an illegal immigrant taking advantage of the programs and systems in place to bend them to their will and way. They became a US citizen and worked within the laws of the country. If and when they choose to celebrate their heritage they didn’t force it down the throats of those that didn’t believe what they did. So – if the school system in Cambridge chooses to allow the holiday for the children of a particular faith why should it bother me? did it make sense to call school off because 1 out of 3 towns in a school district had some kids that couldn’t make it to school because of the storm? I didn’t think so… but it wasn’t my call. Now ALL the kids had the day off even when some went to school the day before. What’s fair for one is fair for all???? if you’re here doesn’t matter if you’re a US citizen or not – you get to help make the laws if you and your group yell loud enough!