Call for greater cultural and religious awareness after children miss school photos due to conflicting dates

Call for change: Aziz Bhatti with his children Taqweer, 9, and Hamza, 10, who were unable to have their pictures taken at school with their classmates because the pictures were timed on the day Muslims celebrate Eid al -fitr. Photo by Murray Silby

Every effort: Through a statement from the Department for Education, Rue Bourchier Primary School said it would do everything possible to avoid clashes with Eid celebrations in the future.

A Shepparton family have called on schools and the wider community to keep up to date with important cultural and religious dates after their children missed school photos because they clashed with the Eid celebration al-Fitr.

Aziz Bhatti said his children were unable to have their pictures taken with their classmates at Bourchier Street Primary School because, like a billion other Muslims around the world, they were celebrating Eid al- Fitr with their family and community.

Mr Bhatti said the Eid celebration marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan and was not something the family could miss. This year which began at sunset on Monday May 2 and ended at sunset on Tuesday May 3.

“Eid is something that we and over a billion Muslims around the world admire and it is the most important day in the Muslim calendar,” Mr Bhatti said.

“The holy month of fasting, at the end of it, we celebrate by acknowledging that God has provided for us, that he has given us this opportunity to observe this holy month and to end this month of fasting.

“It’s an event where families come together and our kids were so excited and every family member gives each other gifts and we talk about it, especially the last 10 days of Ramadan, how we’re going to celebrate it, who is fetch what, and we decorate the house.”

Mr Bhatti said he contacted the school to ask if school photographs could be delayed so that his child and other Muslim children could be included, but was told that was not possible.

He said that while the exact date of Eid celebration depended on the moon each year, it was also predictable.

That meant schools and other organizations could avoid booking events at that time, which could exclude their Muslim students or employees, he said.

“I can tell you when next year’s Eid is,” Mr Bhatti said.

“If I say it will be Monday, it could be Tuesday, but it cannot be Wednesday. So it’s very predictable and schools can certainly prepare for that day or two.

Mr Bhatti said he spoke out not out of anger but to educate the community at large.

“I’m not angry, I’m not. I think I want our communities to learn about important days from each other, and if we can do that, that would be really good,” he said.

“It makes us better humans and it makes us feel like we are one community and one people, even though we have differences.”

Mr Bhatti said he loved Shepparton and was only trying to help social cohesion, not just in his school but also in the wider community.

“I’ve been living in Shepparton for eight or nine months now, a year. We have never encountered an incident that I can tell, not even a look, where you feel alienated or you feel like you are in a city that is not yours,” he said. declared.

“From the day you come to Shepparton, you feel right at home.”

Mr Bhatti said he approached the school to inform them of the conflicting dates when his children brought home photo information from school, but he was disappointed with the answer.

Bourchier Street Elementary School provided a response prepared by the Education Department.

“The Rue Bourchier Primary School Photo Day was pre-scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, the same day as the Eid celebrations,” the statement read.

“Every effort has been made to reschedule the photo day, but given the current demand this has not been possible. Affected families have been asked to have their photo taken on another day. Every effort will be made to avoid such a confrontation in the future.

James C. Tibbs