White House says Obama won’t declare Muslim holiday

Print More
President Barack Obama holds a news conference with reporters at the end of the G20 summit at the Kaya Palazzo Resort in Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015.  Photo courtesy REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama holds a news conference with reporters at the end of the G20 summit at the Kaya Palazzo Resort in Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON — President Obama supports the right of Muslim Americans to celebrate religious holidays, the White House said Friday. He just can’t give them the day off.

Responding to a petition on the White House’s “We the People” site, the White House declined to declare federal holidays for the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

That’s because Congress has only designated 10 federal holidays each year: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Proposals for new permanent federal holidays are typically the province of Congress,” the White House said.

The White House was prompted to respond to the petition after it received more than 100,000 signatures over 30 days.


READ: Priest who survived ISIS: “My interfaith work saved my life”


“There is a large population of Muslim people in the U.S and the two holidays that are celebrated are not recognized in calendars to mark these special days,” the petitioners wrote. “Students are missing out on school, people taking time off from work, this is all because these holidays are unknown.”

The response to the petition came the same day as Obama signed an executive order giving federal employees a half day off on Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve. It also comes as Obama has denounced intolerance toward Muslim Americans following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

The White House noted that states, cities and school districts can set their own holidays, and that New York City schools recognized Eid as a holiday for the first time this year. And it said that federal law requires most employers to make religious accommodations to employees to allow them to celebrate religious observances.

Eid al-Adha celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God; Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

(Gregory Korte is a reporter for USA Today)

  • Pingback: White House says Obama won’t declare Muslim holiday - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Qua Singer

    To an atheist, every day is a religious holiday.

  • No religion deserves a national holiday. All religions should be ignored equally by the government.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas should be removed as National Holidays or renamed without any reference to a religion:
    “National Family Day” could replace Thanksgiving,
    “Winter Festival” could replace Christmas.

    While we are at it, “In God We Trust” should be removed from all money and government buildings.
    And all nativity scenes should be moved off public property and place on church property instead.

    Keep America Godless!

  • Neon Genesis

    Or you could start National Killjoy Day since that seems to be what you are. Christmas is pretty much a secular holiday at this point and I’m pretty sure Thanksgiving has always been secular so I’m not sure what your issue with that day is. In any case, if the issue at hand here is the limit of National Holidays, they could just get rid of Columbus Day. It’s horribly racist and no one cares about it.

  • I don’t see how the birthday celebration of a blood sacrifice
    could be joyous.
    Jesus was slaughtered for mankind’s personal benefit. Even if it really happened, that would be an awful thing to celebrate.

    Yet I am a killjoy? Take Christ out of the holiday
    and the whole season can be changed to ‘peace and joy’.

    “Execute my enemies” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    Jesus is over-rated.

  • Ben in oakland

    Neon, it cant possibly be a secular holiday. We are reliably informed by the Good People Who Never Lie that the secularists have declared war on Christmas, the Baby Jesus, The Ghost of Christmas Presents, and the Good People Who Never Lie. And all because we hate God and All Good Things.

  • Religion is nonsense. The fewer holidays given to religion the better.

  • Pingback: Selected News Stories from Around the World* — Monday, Dec. 14 | The BibleMesh Blog()

  • John

    In a tolerant and pluralistic society, what would logically dictate a national holiday? If you get rid of any religious influence, then there goes Easter, and Christmas. Get rid of American influence and there goes July 4th and Thanksgiving. So, now we have room for more. Any suggestions?

  • Garson Abuita

    Thanksgiving does have religious roots. Nevertheless, one would think it’s capable of being celebrated by theists and atheists and everything in between. Don’t atheists have things to be thankful for, even if you aren’t saying thank you to “someone”?

  • Neon Genesis

    Only in the sense that the first people who celebrated were religious theocratic cults but the circumstances behind it were purely secular. The Pilgrims were on the verge of dying and the Native Americans shared food with them. I’m not sure how a god is required in all of that.

  • Neon Genesis

    Christmas was originally a pagan holiday called Saturnalia where the people of Rome temporarily switched societal roles and gave gifts to each other. It was really popular back then and the Catholic church knew they would have a difficult time winning converts by getting rid of the holiday, so they just took the date and the gift giving concept and attached Jesus to it. Even nowadays, Christmas is as much about family and giving gifts to your loved ones for Christians as it is for secularists and Jesus is only like 1% of the celebrations. Even with the recent Starbucks kerfuffle, most Christians mocked the whole “controversy.” It’s mostly only diehard Faux News fans and the FFRF who keep making a big deal about the war on Christmas every year but most ordinary people don’t care either way.

  • Neon Genesis

    Well I think it’s very sad you’re letting a tiny minority interpretation of the meaning of Christmas ruin your December 25th and keep you from spending time with your family or friends or having a fun day off. You must have a very lonely holiday and I feel sorry for you.

  • Neon Genesis:

    I celebrate with my family the fun of being together, playing games, singing songs, making traditional foods and giving each other presents.
    None of us believe in Gods. We believe in the fun of being together and remembering the fun times and people of our lives.

    We donate to Doctors without Borders, American Red Cross and Hospice. We open our doors to neighbors and friends. We offer food and a warm fire for as long as anyone wants to stay!

    And you feel sorry for me?
    I’m not the one who must convince himself that the reason for the season is a dead body bleeding from a Bronze Age torture device!

  • cindy

    The devil speaks through you. One day you will bow before God. And answer for what your saying.