Celebrating Ramadan in Bloomfield Hills Schools
Tuesday, April 13, was the beginning of Ramadan in 2021, in North America. Ramadan is a month-long spiritual period of fasting and prayer that commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, according to Muslim faith. Every day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset, several nights are spent in prayer until dawn, and the month culminates with a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration that involves praying, visiting relatives, exchanging gifts, remembering deceased loved ones and helping the less fortunate. Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which means it starts on a different date each year.
Bloomfield Hills Schools has a long tradition of collaboration and celebration with our Muslim community. The Muslim Unity Center (MUC), located on Square Lake Road in Bloomfield Hills, has an Interfaith Committee Education team that is dedicated to working with our school community. Coordinating special events and speakers, either virtual or in-person (prior to Covid), this team provides resources to teachers and PTOs in BHS to support our general school population and our Muslim student population. In past years, pre-Covid, dinners sponsored by Muslim Families of the Bloomfield Hills District were hosted at the Muslim Unity Center for our Bloomfield Hills Schools staff members, to provide information, collaboration, and community building.
The Muslim Unity Center (MUC) Interfaith Committee Education team coordinated speakers during March 2021, who presented to four cohorts of the International Baccalaureate (IB) World Religions classes at Bloomfield Hills High School. The IB students watched this Virtual tour of the Muslim Unity Center and attended a virtual Q&A session with the MUC Imam (Spiritual Leader). They also attended several sessions with multiple speakers.
All 7th grade students in Bloomfield Hills Schools had an opportunity through the Religious Diversity Journey Program to view resources prepared by MUC’s Interfaith Committee Education team, which included a variety of educational videos, games, and music. See below for these wonderful resources!
For the first time this school year, Eid al-Fitr (coming up on May 13) will be recognized by Bloomfield Hills Schools with a day off of school. In the summer of 2019, a group of Muslim students within our schools presented information to the Board of Education, asking for a day off on Muslim holidays. The Board and faculty listened, and their efforts are being implemented this year.
Margaret Schultz, Director of Instructional Equity of Bloomfield Hills Schools, sends a letter to faculty and staff each year to help educate them and provide ideas about how to support Muslim students who fast during the month of Ramadan. Some of these guidelines include recognition of traditions, providing accommodations if unable to attend meetings, excusing them from lunch hour, and demonstrating empathy when planning school activities. Student-athletes who fast during Ramadan are also supported; they are provided with resources and guidance from the BHS Athletic Department that can help them keep up with the team while fasting.
April is Arab American Heritage Month. 15% of the world’s Muslims are Arab, and approximately 24% of the world’s population is Muslim. It is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity. Islam and Ramadan belong to all Muslims in the community, not only Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arab. People who identify as Arab typically come from parts of the Middle East and parts of North Africa.
Ramadan Mubarak, to all of our Bloomfield Hills Schools families who celebrate! To access the resources shared by the Muslim Unity Center Interfaith Committee Education team, click here.