A crowd gathers outside Eid services at Discovery Center in Boyds, Md.
Muslim community leaders in Montgomery County are urging families to keep their children home from school Tuesday in observance of a Muslim holiday.
This year, 'Eid ul-Adha,' an important Islamic holiday, falls on Oct. 15. The holiday isn't recognized by Montgomery County Public Schools, so about this time each year, Muslim children and staff in the system are forced to choose between school and religion.
Local Muslim activists are asking parents in the county to keep children home from school tomorrow to celebrate Eid, and show support for their push to have the day recognized as a "day off" holiday in the Montgomery county school system.
Zayna Chadry vice president of the Maryland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it's a matter of civil rights.
"That's what we've been emphasizing all along — that this is an equal rights issue," Chadry says. "We're not asking for special rights for the American Muslim community in Montgomery County, we're just asking for equal rights."
Dana Tofig, spokesperson for Montgomery County schools says the county can't close schools for a religious holiday.
"If we close schools it has to be for an operational reason, such as high staff or student absenteeism," Tofig says. "That is the law and it's been upheld by the Maryland State Department of Education."
School policy allows an excused absence for any student who chooses to stay home for the religious observance.