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Anger Rises Over Rumors Of School Nixing Halloween
CBS2 Chicago ^ | 10/4/07 | Puppage

Posted on 10/04/2007 5:21:36 AM PDT by Puppage

OAK LAWN, Ill. Parents in Oak Lawn sounded off Tuesday night about what they see as an assault on traditional American celebrations. At issue is whether Halloween and Christmas celebrations are insensitive to school children who are Muslim.

As CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports, the school board held an emergency meeting Tuesday night.

Almost a month before Halloween, some Oak Lawn homes are already decorated with pumpkins, ghosts and goblins. But rumors that Ridgefield School District 122 may soon ban in-school Halloween and Christmas have infuriated many parents and area residents.

"They're trying to take away holidays and stuff for the kids," said resident Gene Boerema, dressed in a Santa Claus costume.

Elizabeth Zahdan is at the center of the storm, a Muslim mother of three who requested that her children be separated from others at lunch during the Ramadan fast.

The schools agreed, but many parents didn't.

"I don’t ever remember one of us asking for our child to be separated from classmates during Ash Wednesday when they were fasting, or on every Friday of Lent when our children are not allowed to eat meat," said parent Cathy Hughes.

"If Muslims want the school holidays, menus and school traditions to become tailored to their needs or beliefs, then they should go to private school next to their mosque," said resident Brian Shapiro.

"That does not represent all the Muslims, all of the Arabs at that school," said Qais Nofel, the father of a student in Ridgeland School District 122.

But Zahdan insists she never wanted traditional celebrations removed from schools, she only wanted Ramadan recognized and included.

"We should educate our children about all the holidays, equally," she said. "And not to favor one holiday over another."

The district has a 30 percent Arab-American population, many of whom practice Islam. The superintendent says the reason for the change in tradition comes after one parent wanted Ramadan decorations put up inside Columbus Manor Elementary. They were taken down.

Superintendent Tom Smyth said, "I go back to our policy which says that public schools are to remain neutral in this respect."

Still, for many residents the debate took on a nationalistic tone, one of defending America and its traditions.

"We're letting you come here, were honoring you, don't dishonor us," said resident Linda Pferschy.

Other parents say the controversy is overshadowing what really needs to be addressed at all five schools in the district.

Ronnie Carroll said, "The fact that they are cash strapped. Our classroom size is way above the average mean, 38 children in our first grade classroom. The concern should be our school, not the whole holiday issues."

Smyth said the school never intended to do away with Christmas and Halloween celebrations. Still, after hours of public comment, the board retreated to a closed session, huddling with an attorney to discuss how to deal with religion-tinged issues. Smyth would not say what, if any, board action would be taken.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Illinois; Unclassified; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aclumia; efdamuzzies; halloween; isalminamerica; islam; millerbeermia; mosqueandstate
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To: Shots

I’m not sure how Halloween even belongs in this argument.

From an Islamic standpoint, Halloween is one of the worst celebrations because of its origins and history. It is HARAM (forbidden), even if there may be some seemingly good or harmless elements in those practices, as evidenced by a statement from the...

The RC Church, has denounced Halloween, as a pagan festival.


51 posted on 10/04/2007 7:46:01 AM PDT by thinking
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To: thinking

Hogwash

The holiday was originally created by Pope Boniface IV to replace a pagan festival called “Feralia.”

You have to stop reading blogs


52 posted on 10/04/2007 7:54:22 AM PDT by Shots
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To: Puppage
At issue is whether Halloween and Christmas celebrations are insensitive to school children who are Muslim.

And blowing up buildings is insensitive to Americans. Stop pandering already! Oh poor Muslims, they have to watch people celebrate their own holidays, it's such a devestating feat! /sarc. If the Muslims students don't like it they can just ignore it, it's not that hard! Stop worrying about offending the Muslims in the slightest way when some of them have offended us in the greatest way.
53 posted on 10/04/2007 8:48:17 AM PDT by G8 Diplomat (Know thy enemy. Learn Farsi.)
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To: Puppage; All

Well to appease all those new arrivals from south of the border, we need to celebrate “Dia de la Muerta”.


54 posted on 10/04/2007 1:37:53 PM PDT by art_rocks
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To: captnorb

Re: Elizabeth Zahdan is at the center of the storm, a Muslim mother of three who requested that her children be separated from others at lunch during the Ramadan fast.

The ONLY appropriate answer to this is “HELL NO!”

Why isn’t this obvious to everyone?

If they want segregation and special treatment, start their own friggin school!

Pathetic that many kowtow to these people.

Absolutely disgusting!


55 posted on 10/04/2007 2:46:29 PM PDT by Red in Blue PA (Truth : Liberals :: Kryptonite : Superman)
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