Hindu Leaders Want Religious Day Off in Washington Schools
Rajan Zed is the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, and an activist for Hindu religious causes. Following what he says is the lead of some schools in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he is pushing Gov. Jay Inslee to champion a day off in the fall for Hindu students. According to news reports, similar efforts are under way in Tennessee and other states as well.
According to Zed, the Diwali is the biggest of Hindu religious festivals, falling in October. Zed wants schools to give students a day off, to accommodate the religious requirements and responsibilities of Hindu school children.
He is urging Washington schools to adopt such a day off to "seriously looking into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education."
According to the latest information there are 3 million Hindus living in the U.S., about 0.9 percent of the total population, out of 323 million. (According to latest U.S. census).
According to a 2017 Pew Foundation religious study state-by-state, adults in Washington state who said they were of Hindu faith made up about 1% of the population.
Supporters of the idea say it foster religious and faith tolerance and interaction. Opponents say WA public (and private) schools should not be making policy decisions that affect all students, based upon less than 1 percent of the total population. Hinduism is historically considered the world's oldest religion, and third-largest in the world.
No word on how Inslee and other state school officials have responded to this request.