White House Says It Won't Declare Muslim National Holiday

Dec 12, 2015

The White House has declined to name the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr as a national holiday after more than 100,000 people called for the designation in an online petition.

President Barack Obama “understands the importance” of the three-day event that marks the end of Ramadan – but said it’s up to Congress to make the call, according to the White House’s response to the petition.

“Proposals for new permanent federal holidays are typically the province of Congress,” White House officials wrote. “While Eid is not among the public holidays designated by Congress, we want you to know that the Administration is committed to advancing the ability of all people to practice their faith, observe their religious practices, and celebrate religious holidays.”

The government petition was created in September. It garnered more than 127,000 signatures, prompting federal officials to review it and issue a response.

New York City’s school district became the largest in the nation earlier this year to recognize Eid as an official holiday.

“As Muslims mark the end of the month, they are reminded that Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need,” Obama said at the time. “While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.”

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