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Bridgeport Public Schools make Eid al-Fitr an official school holiday

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Bridgeport Public Schools’ Board of Education voted on Monday night to give students the day off for the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr. The new official school holiday concludes the month of Ramadan and goes into effect during the 2023-2024 school year.

Bridgeport is now the third Connecticut school district to give students a day off for an Islamic holiday, following New Haven and Hamden public schools. Waterbury Public Schools have observed Eid al-Fitr since 2015, and excuse student absences if they miss school for the holiday, but don’t cancel classes.

“We felt very happy with this decision that allows children to have a holiday and celebrate this day, which comes after a month of fasting so they don't have this dilemma of skipping school,” said Khaled Elleithy, President of the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, who spoke at the Board of Education meeting on Monday.

Elleithy joined over 150 community members who attended the meeting to support Bridgeport Public Schools observing Eid al-Fitr.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during Ramadan. The meeting ran from 6:30 to 8:30pm, when many were supposed to have their first meal in over 12 hours.

“They had to break their fast on some water while attending the meeting because they were really excited to attend this meeting,” said Elleithy, who also broke his fast during the meeting.

Bridgeport’s Muslim population has grown significantly in recent years, partially due to the influx of Syrian and Afghan refugees in the last decade. Masjid An-Noor, one of Bridgeport’s largest mosques, estimates there are over 2,000 Muslims in Bridgeport.

“I think having Eid al-Fitr as a holiday is a step the school system has taken in acknowledging the diversity that is within Bridgeport,” said Christine Baptiste-Perez, a member of Bridgeport’s Board of Education.

This year’s Eid al-Fitr will be observed starting at sundown on May 1st, into May 2nd.

Maxwell Zeff is the Spring 2022 Larry Lunden News Intern at CT Public. He assists The Accountability Project investigative news team.

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