School & Workplace Accommodations for the Muslims Holidays
Know Your Rights & Obligations
Al-Hijra: Islamic New Year. Marks the end of Mohammad’s journey from Mecca to Medina.
Ramadan:is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm), prayer, reflection and community.A commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation,the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next.
Students and employees who observe the Muslim holidays must resolve scheduling conflicts resulting from their concurrent religious obligations and school or work responsibilities.
The Canadian Muslim Chaplain Organization (CMCO) firmly believes that to create welcoming and respectful school and workplace environments, diligent efforts should be made to accommodate observance of the Holidays and other religious practices with school or work responsibilities in a meaningful way. Accommodating students and employees who seek to take time off for the Holidays is not merely a principled and worthy practice. Rather, in many instances it may be legally required.However, to obtain a religious accommodation for the Holidays from schools or employers, students and employees often have to fulfill certain obligations.
Even if a K-12 or post-secondary school fully meets its obligations to accommodate a student’s religious observance, missing the first days of school or class due to the Holidays can raise intangible issues. The first days of the school year are a time when students establish their initial rapport with teachers or professors and learn about their educators’ expectations for the coming year or class.
Absence from these days or classes could wrongly convey the message that school or a class is not important to a student or his or her family. While such an interpretation of a student’s absence for religious observance is completely erroneous and unfounded, CMCO strongly encourages older students and parents of younger children to advise teachers or professors in advance of the High Holidays — preferably in person — why they will be absent, and to ask for any important information or materials that will be provided during the days or classes missed.
The links below answer common questions regarding religious accommodation for observance of Holidays by (1) K-12 public and private schools, (2) public and private post-secondary schools, and (3) public and private employers.
Know Your Rights & Obligations
For more information or assistance in seeking a religious accommodation, contact us your local ADL office.
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