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Brooklyn Tech Students Complain Prom Night Will Conflict With Ramadan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Prom is right around the corner for high school seniors, but some Muslim students in Brooklyn may have to sit out because of a religious conflict.

As CBS2's Reena Roy reported, the students are calling on school officials to make a change.

"I think it's kind of unfair because there's a major population of Muslims at Brooklyn Tech," Pikeeza Shabbir said.

It's a sentiment felt by more than 240 people who have signed an online petition asking to change Brooklyn Technical High School's prom date so that everyone can attend.

"Because it's Ramadan, and it's a tradition in my family, I don't want to miss out," Shabbir said.

Ramadan is the annual holy month for Muslims. Observers fast daily -- consuming no food or drink from dawn to sunset, but the dance starts at 7 p.m. while the sun is still out.

"On prom night I'll probably be spending time with my family because I believe prom is the night ifthar happens where we all break our fast," Mashror Ali said.

A Department of Education spokesperson told CBS2 the dance was planned months in advance and officials will not be rescheduling. Dinner will be served at 9 p.m. -- well after sunset -- so all students can eat. However, Muslims said it's not just about food, but also other religious rules.

"You're not supposed to listen to music during Ramadan, so it's not really allowed," Shabbir said.

Some Muslim students feel in general their holidays are overlooked.

"Muslim holidays they don't give much attention to it, school events, they don't care about it," Saima Afrin said.

Others said what's already been decided months ago shouldn't be changed.

"I think this petition, I don't wanna say it, but it's kind of useless since the school won't change it because they'd lose money," Nafin Rahman said.

Even though the petition was created three months ago, a DOE spokesperson said school officials were not aware of it.

It was brought to the principal's attention on Monday. He was to meet with the Muslim Student Association on Tuesday to discuss possible accommodations for future years.

The dates of Ramadan change each year because it's based on a lunar calendar.


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