Public schools should respect faith practice of Muslim and Christian students equally, says Catholic League

In recent years, public schools across the United States have removed Christmas traditions in an attempt to be “inclusive” and not offend students of other faiths. They’ve replaced references to the Christmas season with “Winter Holiday,” removed Nativity scenes and changed Christmas pageants to “Winter Festivals.”

Catholic League president William Donohue says this is “nonsense.” He points out in a press release what some public schools recently did to accommodate Muslim students during Ramadan, and says the faith of Christian students should be equally recognized and respected.

For example, Donohue says, Muslim students at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California, and Tahali Community School in St. Cloud, Florida, were allowed a quiet space to pray.

As well, after protests, Muslim students at Brooklyn International High School were allowed to miss class for four Fridays during Ramadan to attend mosque services.

At Salem High School in New Hampshire, the Muslim Students Association held a Ramadan “Fast-A-Thon” wherein they received contributions from classmates and teachers (proceeds went to a local soup kitchen).  In a show of support, the teachers skipped lunch as well.  In addition, the group held a fast-breaking feast at the public school at 4:30 p.m.

At Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, which is a publicly funded charter school in Minnesota, all of the students – including non-Muslims – followed the traditional Muslim fast.

And Gwinnett school officials in Georgia excused Muslim students from the final class period every school day. One of the make-up options is for students to take a religious studies class off-campus.

“The degree of tolerance that these public schools have shown for Muslim students during Ramadan is encouraging,” says Donohue. “Maybe now we can get the schools to stop with this ‘Winter Holiday’ nonsense and get down to celebrating Christmas with a concert that features a Nativity scene and the singing of ‘Silent Night.’”

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