Netherlands: Can Muslim kids be released from school on holidays?

A man in the Netherlands recently turned to Committee for Equal Treatment (Commissie Gelijke Behandeling, CGB), claiming that releasing Muslim kids on Muslim holidays is against the law.

The man, Frissen, has a 12 year old daughter who goes to Kempenhorst College, a Roman Catholic school. When 25 Muslims kids were released from school for Eid Ul-Fitr, he kept his daughter at home as well, in protest. He says he does not understand why different students get released from school for Islamic holidays.

According to Dutch law children may be released from school for official religious holidays if the parents inform the school two days in advance. According to Frissen the school released all Muslim students, even without request for permission. He also claims that the officers in charge of enforcing compulsory education have agreed to ignore Muslim kids who miss school on the Muslim holidays. This, despite the law against discrimination based on religion.The quality of education suffers because of this. So, for example, 8 kids were missing in his daughter’s class and lessons were not conducted normally that day. In addition, besides the Muslim holidays, the Muslim kids are released for Christian holidays such as Christmas.

The school replied that Frissen only turned to the CGB to explain away why he kept his daughter home, since the school had reported her absence to the authorities. The school claims all Muslim parents informed the school in advance of their children’s’ absence.

Source: Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch)

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