muslim kids 081921CHICAGO – So students of all faiths can practice freely, a bill sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Dan Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) that would provide students with five excused absences for religious holidays was signed into law today.

“Illinois is a diverse state with several religious communities,” Villivalam said. “Our school calendar will now reflect the diversity of our state and allow students of all faiths the flexibility to practice according to their religious calendar.”

The new law allows for excused absences from public schools to observe a religious holiday or participate in religious instruction. No more than five days per school year would be given to students. The legislation was an initiative of the Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance (NIAMA).

“This provides school children the ability to celebrate important religious holidays and strengthen the bond between their families,” said Vaseem Iftekhar, Chairman and Founder of NIAMA. “This change is greatly welcomed by Muslim and other religious communities.”

“As the Muslim population grows in Chicagoland, it is important for school systems to recognize our holidays and customs,” said Kamran Hussain, President of the Muslim Community Center. “This new law allows Muslim youth to have a sense of pride that their school recognizes and respects their values.”

“This measure ensures every student, family and community is respected, and it supports the diverse faith identities across our state,” said Dr. Dilara Sayeed of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition.

House Bill 169 is effective immediately.