On Thursday, January 21, 2016 Muslims and supporters were asked to attend a city council meeting that would propose the Eid Recognition Bill. The bill proposes that schools and city agencies close on the two Islamic holidays.
Muslims were lined up on the street by 7:30 a.m. to attend the 10 a.m. morning session. By 9 a.m. the space was filled to capacity reaching to the second floor chambers which were overflowing with people. Many Muslims from various communities, including Al-Aqsa came to support the efforts spearheaded by Michael Rashid and various members of the Eid Coaltion. The most important ally was Councilman Curtis Jones Jr, who is a practicing Muslim and who proposed the bill to members of City Council.
After council members proposed their own bills to be deliberated in the next week, Curtis Jones Jr. presented a very powerful, eloquent proposal for the Eid Recognition Bill. He shared his own experience growing up Muslim and how he felt marginalized when it was time to celebrate his own holidays. He stressed how important it is for Muslims to feel inclusion and not feel a sense of marginalization because of their beliefs. In Philadelphia, Muslims make up over 200,000 tax paying citizens. After his proposal, rather than postponing the vote for the following week, Darrel Clarke president of City Council approved a measure to allow members to take the vote on the same day. It was a glorious moment when there was a unanimous vote of 17-0 in was in support of the Philly Eid Day! Cheers and Takbirs began taking place. It was a historic and momentous day. That was a remarkable first step to help move forward with approaching the SRC & the Labor Unions.
In the same evening, Curtis Jones Jr, and the members of the Eid Coalition presented their proposal to the School Reform Commission which would help regulate the bill through the Philadelphia School District. After the presentation, the SRC said they will need to take time to consider bill but the Eid Coalition feels confident that they will eventually accept the proposal.
Mayor Kenney supports the measure and believes that all religions should be entitled to celebrate their holidays. He supports the Eid Recognition Bill but believes it will come down to the costs and expenses the city will incur.
Future steps include negotiating with the Labor Unions and striking a deal that will work for all the parties involved.
For more information, check out The Eid Coalition’s website: www.phillyeid.org
Take the time to sign the online petition! Even if you signed the paper petitions, this online petition is necessary too. Most importantly, do not hesitate to Donate to the cause. Spending in the cause of Allah is important, and if each Muslim in the city would simply donate just $10 that would be over two million dollars! Please do your share and help make the Eids a day off.