Maryland School Board Designates Muslim Holiday a Day off from School

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Almost a year ago to the day, the "Grinch" decided to remove Chrismas, Easter and Rosh Hashanah from the Montgomery County Public Schools calendar (still leaving it as a holiday, but not designating it by its religious name) instead of adding the Muslim holidays of Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr to the calendar and giving students those days off.Now, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted 6-2 in support of a measure to schedule a professional work day for administrators and teachers on … [Read more...]

Eid Mubarak and the Blessings of Family

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Don’t ever take your family for granted.Ever. ********** The alarm on my phone beeped to wake me to get ready for Eid prayers. I swiped it to turn it off and noticed litany of messages, as usual. One stuck out at me – my sister in law messaging a group of us to tell us there had been a stampede in the Mina camps, and hundreds of Hajjis had died.Innal lilahi wa inna lilayhi raji’oon. From God we come and to God we return.If you are a believer like me then you believe that those who p … [Read more...]

Ali Family Autism Truths #5 – How Inclusive was Your Easter or Passover Service?

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April 5, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #5 In private conversations with friends today, friends celebrating Easter or having celebrated Passover, we shared some of our frustrations in trying to participate in religious ceremonies and attend services at Houses of Worship with our autistic children. While many churches, synagogues (and even some mosques) and other Houses of Worship have made great strides in tailoring services for all in their congregation, or at the very … [Read more...]

Raise Your Voice: An Eid Celebration for Special Needs Children

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I can feel it. On more days than others, I can feel it. I can almost smell a change in the air, the movement towards action built on the weary shoulders of ongoing awareness. It’s starting to happen, all too much slowly for my impatient bones, but inch by inch, bit by bit. Not only are our Muslim communities starting to recognize and acknowledge the different needs and challenges of individuals and families with special needs, we are beginning to lay the path – brick by brick – to affect some rea … [Read more...]

Eyes Open to His Wisdom

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The Hajjis are gathered on the plains of Arafat, the holiest, most wondrous day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage -- standing in prayer until the sun sets. Muslims are taught that God and his angels come down from the heavens and get as near as possible to the pilgrims, and He listens to the fervent, yearning prayers pouring forth from lips and hearts.And those prayers of Hajj pilgrims are surely answered, we are also taught. Because this pilgrimage, which able-body and financially-able Muslims … [Read more...]

An Eid without Lil D and Autism

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It was a pretty monumental end to Ramadan 2013 for our family, as we celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday here in Hyderabad, India, completing what was my first experience fasting and celebrating this Eid outside of the United States. My hands have mendhi (henna) on them, I ate more than my fair share of sheer khorma, and we met more family in one day on Eid than I ever have before. We managed to stuff the day with Eid prayers, Friday prayers, a stellar biryani lunch (natch) for any and all family … [Read more...]

School Districts Deny Petitions to Close School on Muslim Holidays

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Growing up in North Dakota and later in Maryland, any time a Muslim holiday rolled around (Eid ul Fitr or Eid ul Adha), I took off from school to celebrate it. As I got into higher grades, there were times I just took a few hours off to attend Eid prayers and then headed back to school so I wouldn't miss an important test or assignment. Being in Advanced Placement and honors classes in high school, even missing one day made it tough to catch up. Back then, there also weren't as many activities … [Read more...]


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