Govt considering ban on school Ramadan closures

Еducation Minister Giuseppe Valditara is working on a measure that would stop schools from closing for religious festivals if there is no agreement between the State and the faith in question, according to sources.

The possible move is being considered amid a row over a school near Milan that was closed on Wednesday to enable its Muslim students, who make up around 40% of its pupils, to celebrate the Eid-al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan.

The decision by the Iqbal Masih Comprehensive Institute in Pioltello caused an uproar, with the head teacher getting death threats from right-wingers on the Web.

It was also criticized by Valditara and the Lombardy regional school office unsuccessfully called for a rethink.

There was a small protest of around 10 parents who opposed the closure outside the Iqbal Masih school on Wednesday.

“I don’t think it’s right to scrap another holiday that had been planned from the beginning year to have this day off, when we are all at work,” said Samanta Sacchi, the mother of a pupil.

“I had to ask for a day off today and give up the one (I was going to take) between the end of April and beginning of May (between the Liberation Day and May Day holidays), when the rest of my family will be at home”.

Mohamed Pietro Danova, the president of the town’s El Huda Islamic Association, welcomed the closure.

“It was a joy for us because integration begins at school,” Danova told ANSA.

“It is the place where things are cemented between the children.

“There are no distinctions for them, they all feel equal, all citizens.

“It is better to look for opportunities to unite and strengthen our relationship, for the growth and the development of our country”.