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Here's a concept: Muslims as citizens

The article points out that school calendars already accommodate other religious holidays:

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"Maryland's laws and regulations designate which holidays school systems must observe. Those holidays include Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Friday. Local school systems are permitted to decide whether to close for Jewish holidays based on projected absenteeism. While Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll and Harford counties close for two Jewish holidays, Baltimore City does not.

"A federal appeals court ruling in 1999 said that school districts had a "plausible secular purpose" to close schools during religious holidays when there would be a high rate of absenteeism."

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Baltimore County has already scheduled a teacher training day in September to fall on Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Fitr falls in July this year. "Over the next several years, only one of the holy days falls on a school day," Ms. Bowie writes, so the board is considering one day out of the school year.

To read comments on the article (Yes, I couldn't help myself), you would imagine that Muslim hordes are Taking Over The Country. Consider this specimen posted on Facebook by Timothy Craig: "This is absolutely disgusting. We need to stop pandering to these people. They have chosen to come and live in a Judeo-Christian Constitutional Republic."

The United States is indeed a constitutional republic, but the word Mr. Craig left out is secular. The Constitution of the United States does not mention God or Jesus. The only mention of religion in the text of the Constitution proper is that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States." Then, too, there is the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. …" No privileging of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Constitution.

As to the Founders of this supposed "Judeo-Christian Constitutional Republic," we might consider that under President John Adams, Article 11 of the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli with the Muslim Dey stated: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

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Also, of course, George Washington, though nominally an Episcopalian, was never observed to take Communion and declined the consolation of clergy at his bedside as he lay dying, and Thomas Jefferson famously edited the New Testament to excise the miracles of Jesus and other aspects he found improbable. They all wanted a republic in which the state was not involved in religion.

So if Mr. Craig wants pandering to stop, he might advocate eliminating all school holidays linked to religious observances, thereby not privileging the observant of any faith over the multitude of non-observant citizens.* But if he wants the schools to accommodate even one religious practice, then he is going to have to allow for accommodation of the others.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there are 3.3million Muslims living in the United States, each of them with the same constitutional rights that Mr. Craig and I enjoy. Let's not begrudge them.

*A number of commenters have suggested this.

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