• Philip

    So, will this open the door to a slew of other religious holidays? Can a culture have a historical basis for holidays? How does or should that change over time before you find yourself not wanting to exclude anyone or any group in society and having to accommodate more than may seem reasonable?

  • Russ

    Why do Muslims celebrate the offer of sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac as a holiday?

  • New York, which counts about 1 million Muslim residents across its five boroughs, joins cities in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont that recognize the holidays.

    There are about 3 million muslims in the U.S., the efforts of muslim advocates to pad the number notwithstanding. The notion that a third of them are living in New York City (where lives 2.7% of the national population) beggars belief. diBlasio’s not doing this in the face of popular demand, but because an affection for exotica is characteristic of his class and subculture.

  • Garson Abuita

    For starters, they believe that Ishmael was the purportedly intended sacrifice, not Isaac.

  • Russ

    The Torah and the Hebrew Bible both record the fact that Abraham took his son Isaac for sacrifice. Both of these(Torah and Hebrew Bible) texts are much older than the Koran and are hence more reliable as they closer in time to the actual event.
    Also, the NT records the same fact about Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac not Ishmael. All in all there are three texts all of which precede the Koran that record Isaac as the object of sacrifice.

  • Fourth Valley

    Why not?? Both Christians and Jews see it as a positive occurrence.

  • Fourth Valley

    The easiest solution would be to simply give everyone floating holidays and give no inherent religious holidays off. No Christmas off, no Eid al-Fitr, off no Hanukah off, just give ’em all a set number of days they can take off and let them choose as necessary.

  • Larry

    How about a more practical basis. If a culture is numerous enough and celebrates something on the same day, it is sensible to have a holiday to avoid problems large scale absences would cause.

    Use a “critical mass” criteria. If a given religious/cultural group is large enough in a population they can get a school holiday

  • Garson Abuita

    I’m not interested in arguing with you as to the “correct” version of the story as a matter of history, so don’t take this the wrong way. Even in Jewish sources there are nods to the Islamic view of the story. For example, there is a midrash concerning God’s order to Abraham to “please take your son, whom you love, your only one, Isaac:” this discourse was necessary because Abraham was subtly protesting by pointing out that he had two sons, he loved them both, and both were the only sons of their mothers. Additionally, Rashi notes earlier rabbinic commentary as identifying one of the two servants of Abraham as Ishmael. Artscroll states that he had come back to visit his father.

  • Russ

    “Why not?? Both Christians and Jews see it as a positive occurrence.”–

    a) First off, It was Isaac and not Ismael- that contradicts what the Jews and Christians believe.
    b)That would be idolatry celebrating the act of a human being.

  • Jack

    An interesting thought, Fourth Valley.

  • Russ

    Genesis 22 and Hebrews 11 both record the fact that it was Isaac and not Ishmael that was the object of sacrifice. This contradicts to a much later text — Koran. Also, Genesis was recorded a good millennium earlier to that of the Koran.

  • Jack

    Yes, and anyone with at least a passing acquaintance with the Village Voice, a longtime New York organ of what was once called the New Left, will recognize where di Blasio is coming from. He is the Village Voice mayor, unlike any prior New York City mayor. Their major debates are between the countercultural elite lefties who want lifestyle issues like abortion and gay marriage to be front and center and the more orthodox, older lefties who believe economic socialism should be front and center.

    What unites both sides is a distain for mainstream American culture and a desire to subvert it through multiculturalism….which is very different from the more mainstream pluralism favored by old-time liberals. Pluralism, unlike multiculturalism, celebrates a common American identity while affirming ethnic & religious identity. Multiculturalism uses such identities as a battering ram against American identity.

    Needless to say, di Blasio is not a pluralist but a…

  • Garson Abuita

    Is it idolatrous to commemorate the event? Because Jews do that twice a year, once on Rosh Hashanah and once when that portion of the Torah is read (if you’re on the annual cycle).

  • Fourth Valley

    1. Has NOTHING to do with why one should or should not celebrate the incident.
    2.Shirk (Islamic term for Idolatry) refers to only of worship of any except God. The event is not worshipped, but celebrated. And God’s part/actions in the event, not Abraham’s, is what is commemorated anyways. So tell me: how is celebrating the mercy of God idolatry??

  • Larry

    Anyone with a passing knowledge of lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn would know how numerous the Muslim population of the city really is.

    Despite the ignorant spiteful ramblings of Art and your own attempts at ad hominem of the mayor, Muslims are a large enough population to give a significant impact to their absence from schools. Hindus are looking to for the same for Diwali and Holi. Its what significant ethnic/religious groups do in the situation.

    As for your take on multicultuarism, its complete nonsense. America does not have a cultural identity. Never did. America’s cultural identity is the appropriation, distillation and subsuming of the world’s cultures. America has always been the place which lacks a cultural history and identity. Where reinvention was possible in a way one could not do in their old countries.

  • Pew Research estimates there are 2.35 million muslims in the United States (with 65% born abroad). An analysis of census data undertaken at San Diego State University some years back concluded that shy of 15% of the nation’s muslims lived in New York state. The five boroughs have about 34% of the state’s native-born population and 70% of the state’s foreign born population. If Muslims, being 65% foreign born, are distributed accordingly, you’d expect 58% of them in state to be resident of the five boroughs. That suggests a muslim population in the five boroughs of 200,000, or 2.5% of the total.

    Larry can just make up numbers if it pleases him, derived from his last school trip to Manhattan, of course. One’s nonage is a great time for make-believe.

  • Jack

    Larry, Mayor di Blasio is a complete clown singularly unfit to manage anything and I’m not going to hide my distain for his empty-headed approach to governance. While on this particular issue of religious holidays, reasonable people can disagree, di Blasio himself is an accidental mayor who stumbled into office due to an extremely low turnout. For 36 of the prior 40 years, New York was run by competent and serious people, one Democrat, one Republican, and one Independent, who put good governance ahead of mindless conformity to rabid ideology. Together, they made New York a world-class city again.

    As for multiculturalism, Larry, you obviously don’t know the difference between it and pluralism. And the reason is you don’t understand that there is an overarching American culture…..but it’s not based on blood and soil, but on the habits and ways of a free people with a distinctive approach to self-government and all that goes with it.

  • Jack

    Larry certainly isn’t averse to making things up as he goes along….what he probably thinks are educated guesses, but which often are based on fundamental misconceptions.

  • Why? Christmas is almost universally observed. There’s no point in keeping the schools open. About 11% of the population of Greater New York is Jewish, so you might add Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur, though, since most Jews observe little, you might not. The Jewish parents in my elementary school (where about 10% of the student body was Jewish and most at least minimally observant) just pulled their young out on those days. If people wish to remove their children from schools on select days, the truant officers should not have anything to say about it.

  • This place is a collecting pool of loons.

  • Jack

    I don’t see the rabbinic explanation or elaboration which you articulated as in any way giving a nod to the Islamic view that it was Ishmael. I see it as an attempt to picture the event and to fill in the blanks that the biblical text leaves. The text assumes a number of things, and the rabbinical commentary is appearing to try to flesh out those assumptions or at least speculate on what they may be.

    But none of it seems to take us in any way toward the notion that it was Ishmael and not Isaac. Rather, the commentaries seem to have as their aim a desire to buttress the biblical account by anticipating questions it may raise and answering them.

  • Larry

    You may be off by as much as 1.5 million Muslims in the US. Its been cited in other sources as 3.3 million. 800,000 of them living in New York State. Some sources put the numbers closer to 1 million.

    You are certainly either misinterpreting data or making outright fictions. Unless you can cite to large numbers of Muslims living upstate or on Long Island, your 200,000 figure isn’t even close to credible.

    You can feel free to cite sources for your numbers.



    Or you can continue being an ignorant insulting dolt as always.

  • Larry

    Ad hominem Jack strikes again!

    You are just pulling stuff from your posterior. DiBlasio was far from an “accidental mayor”. The Republican party dumped their candidate when he came out supporting marriage equality and and pro-choice stance.

    There is anywhere upwards to 1 million Muslims living in the New York Metro area. They are a significant enough population to warrant school holidays no matter what you think of DiBlasio.

    There is still no evidence of a national American culture. That is what people say when they want to make fun of immigrants or promote xenophobic nonsense.

  • Larry

    “About 11% of the population of Greater New York is Jewish, so you might add Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur, though, since most Jews observe little, you might not.”

    They already ARE school holidays in that region. You are really missing the point here. Your ignorance of the situation is showing very clearly.

  • Garson Abuita

    The rabbinic commentaries don’t support the view that it was Ishmael rather than Isaac, but they do explain how there might have been oral accounts out there in which Ishmael was the intended sacrifice.

  • Russ

    From the previous comment (a) above still matters, if this is a celebration of sacrifice of Ismael made by Abraham as claimed in the Koran,
    then that event did not take place in the first place. They got it wrong there.
    Also, it is called the “festival of sacrifice” not “mercy of God”, which is idolatry because it celebrates one man’s offer of sacrifice.
    This whole event was ultimately a test of faith for Abraham.
    The event itself happened c.2100 – c.2200 B.C why wait till c.600 A.D to celebrate the “festival of sacrifice” and get it wrong?

    Regarding the comment on Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of the Jewish New Year, reading scriptures as part of this celebration is not idolatry.

  • Jack

    As I said, Larry, a reasonable person can make an argument for or against adding a Muslim holiday. Implicit in what I posted is that there are bad arguments on both sides as well as good ones. And di Blasio, given his mindset and ideology, has reasons that point more to obsessive multiculturalism than to normal notions of fairness.

    Put another way, to be a bad politician and a poor leader means that even when one takes a sensible position on an issue, it’s often for wrong-headed reasons.

    To cite a foreign policy example, two politicians could each be against isolationism and oppose its measures, but for completely different reasons. The first could be against it because it inhibits America taking the lead in the world as the head of free nations; the second could oppose it because it inhibits any move toward global governance. Same position, yes, but with totally different aims in mind.

  • Jack

    As for di Blasio being New York’s accidental mayor, I suppose you don’t realize that most of the time, the elections that usually matter are Democratic primary results. The Giuliani/Bloomberg era was an anomaly because of the crime spike following the crack epidemic and then the 911 attacks and the years that followed.

    In the 2013 election, New York politics returned to their past course, with the Democratic primaries being key, since no non-Democrat emerged as the likely winner.

    The Democratic field was filled with people promising a far more ideological approach than the successful administrations of Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Bloomberg. The only candidate who came even close to these past administrations in his approach was Anthony Weiner….and you know what happened to him.

    That left pretty much nobody for pragmatically-minded Democrats to vote for in the primaries. So they stayed home….but uber-committed lefties turned out for di Blasio.

  • Jack

    And no, Larry, New York Republicans did not “dump” their mayoral nominee because he was pro-gay marriage and pro-choice….this shows how little you know about New York. NY Republicans are largely a liberal lot. The candidate lost because New York is a Democratic town and Republicans only win during exceptional moments, ie when crime is roaring out of control or when a Republican mayor who controls crime happens to be mayor during 911 but is term-limited urges people to vote for another Republican two months later.

  • Russ

    The two major events in the life of Ishmael when he was 13 years of age as recorded in the Bible are,

    a) he was circumcised
    b) God promised to make him into a great nation – that probably is worthy of celebration.

    Hopefully there will be peace one day and all people of this planet earth can learn to live with one another in harmony!

  • Jack

    As for multiculturalism, Larry, you’re still getting it wrong. Pluralism in America means we recognized and celebrate cultural expressions of various peoples while implicitly agreeing that all of us have a larger identity that is American.

    Get it Larry? Not A or B…..A plus B. That’s what pluralism is about. In America, you can be proud of your ethnic or national heritage and still be proud to be an American as your larger identity.

    But with multiculturalism, the larger American identity gets stripped away and in fact is attacked at every point.

    Ask any immigrant which he or she prefers and most will say the first — they are proud of their heritage and also proud to be American.

    Multiculturalism forces you to choose because it is fundamentally hostile to America. Pluralism says you can have both.

  • Larry

    You are so far from the topic at hand or even anything remotely relevant here that its not worth the effort to wade through the incoherence of the alleged points you were trying to make. Whatever. I don’t give a flying crap what you think of DiBlasio nor was it relevant.

    Art’s estimate for the number of Muslims in the NYC area was fiction. He was trying to imply that the move was entirely without merit based on the number of Muslims in the city. You jumped in claiming I was making things up. Typical ad hominem Jack.

    “Estimates of the Muslim population in New York City range widely, from 600,000 to one million”

    He also seemed unaware that the city has made Jewish high holy days school holidays as well. Despite being done for well over 40 years.

    600,000 to 1,000,000 Muslims in the area is enough of a reason for the school holiday.

  • Jack

    I see where you’re coming from on that, but I take a more skeptical view on speculations about oral traditions. There should be a rather high hurdle to clear when arguing that the absence or presence of something in a text points to some lost oral tradition.

    That’s different, of course, than arguments for or against an oral law. A separate issue entirely….I want to be clear that I’m not referring to that issue.

    I mean arguments, often stemming originally from higher criticism of the Bible, which are made to call into question a written text. That’s where I think scholars can easily go wrong….they forget that with the presence of a written text, burden of proof favors it over speculation about oral traditions preceding it. It’s okay to speculate, but the burden of proof should be on those claiming an earlier oral tradition which it supposedly supplanted.

  • Jack

    Not at all, Larry. You just don’t like being corrected when you’re wrong. As I said, di Blasio’s stance on holidays is defensible, but his reasons aren’t. They point to a whole cluster of related issues in which he is dangerously wrong……dangerously as in threatening the lives and safety of New Yorkers due to his wrong-headedness.

    Rather than normal ideas of fairness, he is driven by multiculturalist dogma. If his thinking behind his position were more sane, then there would be nothing to say. We would agree or disagree on the issue of holidays and that would be that. But because his thinking and ideology is fundamentally irrational and dogmatic, we can’t ignore this just because he takes a defensible position on one issue. Such thinking leads to pretty crazy results on a host of related areas.

  • Jack

    The figures for Muslims in New York City and New York State wildly vary, and that’s partly why you and Art Deco are having a dispute. As of a couple of years ago, a friend of mine who is doing an ongoing study on houses of worship of all kinds in New York City said that the figures for NYC range wildly, from 200,000 to close to a million. He thought 600,000 might be the right number.

    So Art Deco might be right, you might be right, or the answer could be somewhere in between. We just don’t know….

    I realize you’re notorious on these boards for your intolerance of ambiguity, but there’s nothing I or anyone else can do to alter reality and make all ambiguity go away…..Sorry.

  • Fran


    Gratefully, the sacrifice of Isaac did not literally take place since God’s angel prevented him from doing so (Genesis 22:10-12), and Abraham’s actions proved to God his faith in him beyond any reasonable doubt. If only we could all imitate Abraham in that regard!

    What is so marvelous about this account in the Bible is that Abraham was completely sure that God would resurrect Isaac after the sacrifice, should it have occurred. How could we be so sure?

    Because God promised Abraham that all nations of the earth would be blessed by his seed, who made his appearance as Jesus, the Messiah, on earth.

    Jesus preached the good news of God’s kingdom as the only hope for mankind (Matthew 4:17) and eventually became King of that government, who will also soon provide grand blessings to all meek ones on earth (Isaiah 11:1-9).

    The account also showed the greater example of God by giving his son, Jesus, as a perfect sacrifice for all imperfect mankind (John 3:16).

  • Fran


    God’s kingdom or heavenly goverment (Daniel 2:44) will soon bring about “true” peace to all meek ones on the planet (Isaiah 11:4; Psalm 37:10,11). Jesus is not called the Prince of Peace for nothing, and man and all his governments cannot and will not make it happen!

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