Rep. Sanchez bill would make
last day of Ramadan a state holiday


STATE HOUSE – Rep. Enrique Sanchez has introduced legislation that would make the last day of Ramadan a state holiday.

“Our state was founded on the principle of religious freedom,” Representative Sanchez said. “Not everyone in Rhode Island is Christian and the state shouldn’t choose one religion to celebrate over others. Our Muslim neighbors contribute so much to our state and that should be recognized.”

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims as a month of prayer, fasting, reflection and community. According to Muslim beliefs, the month commemorates the first time the prophet Mohammed was visited by the angel Gabriel. The last day of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr or the Festival of Sweets, is among the holiest days of the year for Muslims worldwide.

The legislation would add the last day of Ramadan, in accordance with the Islamic calendar, as a holiday for state employees. If that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday would be celebrated on that Monday.

To Representative Sanchez (D-Dist. 9, Providence), it’s a matter of living up to the state’s ideals.

“Roger Williams’ words are carved in marble over the front door of the State House:a lively experiment that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with full liberty in religious concernments.’ To me that means treating all religions equally,” Representative Sanchez said. “We get Christmas as a state holiday because so many of us celebrate that day. Our Muslim neighbors deserve their holy day off, too.”