You are reading

Queens Student Fights to Make Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha State Holidays

Jamaica resident, Queens organizer and college student Tanbir Chowdhury (Courtesy of Tanbir Chowdhury)

Oct. 4, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A Queens college student and organizer is fighting for New York state to make Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha public holidays.

Tanbir Chowdhury, a 20-year-old Jamaica resident and John Jay College student, is calling on state legislators to sign onto to a bill to make the Muslim holidays — which celebrate the end of Ramadan — state holidays.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in the Senate and Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez in the Assembly, would make the two days public holidays in New York, meaning all state/ municipal offices and facilities — including public schools — would be closed on those two days.

Currently, the only religious holiday that is designated a state holiday in New York is Christmas. While Eid is observed in New York City public schools, the bill would require all public schools across the state to give students and teachers time off for both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

“We have Eid as a public school holiday in New York City now, but for the most part of my K to 12 [grade] life, it wasn’t,” Chowdhury told the Queens Post. “My family had to decide whether to send me to school or celebrate the holidays and pray.”

He said that the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Americans across the state deserve time off from school to properly observe their faith.

Chowdhury has started calling up and emailing lawmakers asking them to support the bill.

He published a spreadsheet last Wednesday to show New Yorkers where their representatives stand on the bill. The document includes each legislator’s office phone number so those who want to see Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha recognized as state holidays can call them up and ask for their support. Others soon joined Chowdhury in making calls.

Since releasing the document, Chowdhury has already gotten a number of legislators to support this bill and even a few to sign on as co-sponsors.

When he started the bill had just one co-sponsor in the Senate. Now it has five.

Senators Andrew Gourdarnes, John Lui, Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris all joined as co-sponsors after Chowdhury began campaigning for the bill.

“Between the time the spreadsheet was released to today, we’ve gotten 10 new co-sponsors — four [of whom] are in the Senate,” Chowdhury said Wednesday.

He said he was surprised, and pleased, to see how quickly it gained momentum.

“Two people mentioned Senator Jessica Ramos in the comments [on social media],” he said. “She liked both of their replies and then the next day, she was a co-sponsor on the bill.”

On the Assembly side, Chowdhury convinced Assembly Members Jenifer Rajkumar, Zohran Mamdani, Jessica González-Rojas and Kenny Burgos to co-sponsor the bill.

The Assembly bill now has 15 co-sponsors and Chowdhury said at least two more members have promised to become co-sponsors as well.

The bill, however, will not be taken up until the legislative session begins again in January.

“Right now, the most I can do is try to get as many co-sponsors prior to session starting,” Chowdhury said.

Two prior versions of the bill died in earlier legislative sessions, but Chowdhury believes this time will be different.

He said there wasn’t enough commotion and advocacy around the prior bills. In fact, he didn’t know there was already a bill on the floor to make Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha public holidays until he started researching.

“It was hard to find people discussing it — it was hard to find the bill itself,” Chowdhury said. “Someone from an assembly member’s office had to tell me the bill was already on the floor.”

He plans to keep making noise about the importance of the bill to Muslim New Yorkers, especially when the session begins.

“There’s no excuse why this bill should not pass in a Democratic supermajority frankly,” he said. “I think we have an amazing shot to get it passed this session if we keep the momentum and demand up.”

Chowdhury said the bill is long overdue and would be a great win for the Muslim community.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Construction workers rescued from trench collapse at South Ozone Park home Monday morning: FDNY

The FDNY rescued two construction workers who were injured during a trench collapse at a home in South Ozone Park Monday morning.

Multiple units, including Squad 288 from Maspeth and Engine 302 in Jamaica, began arriving on the scene minutes after receiving a call just after 11:36 a.m. of workers trapped in the collapse of a retaining wall at 133-28 150th St. Firefighters discovered the two men pinned at the knees from dirt and debris in a collapsed 20-by-40-foot section. A neighbor who witnessed the scene said other construction workers came to the aid of the two before the FDNY arrived on the scene.

John Adams HS assistant principal busted in alleged sexual abuse of 15-year-old student: NYPD

An administrator at John Adams High School in Ozone Park was arrested on campus Wednesday for allegedly stroking the inner thigh of a 15-year-old student on Monday and then showing pornographic images of himself to her the following day.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park responded to the scene after the student reported the incident to another John Adams High School administrator. Michael Budhu, 52, was then taken into custody.

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.

Young man chased, punched out and robbed in Cambria Heights by gunman who remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 105th Precinct in Queens Village are looking for a gunman who chased his victim through Cambria Heights before beating and robbing him on the night of Wednesday, May 8.

A 22-year-old man was in front of a business establishment at 229-02 Linden Blvd. when he was approached by a stranger. Sensing danger, he took off running eastbound toward the Cross Island Parkway with his assailant in pursuit.