Issues

Eid Holiday

After nearly a year of lobbying the PGC Board of Education and the new CEO for the public schools, PGCMC was successful in having the Eid -Ul-Fitr holiday added the the PGCPS calendar as a day off for both students and faculty. The first year will be May 2021. Continued effort will be needed to keep it on the calendar in subsequent years.

2021
January 1 Winter Break & New Year’s Holiday – Schools and Offices Closed
January 18 Martin L. King Jr. Day Holiday – Schools and Offices Closed
January 27 End of Second Quarter (46 days)
January 28 Professional Day for Teachers – 2-Hr. Early Dismissal for Students
February 15 Presidents’ Day Holiday – Schools and Offices Closed
February 16 Parent-Teacher Conferences – 2-Hr. Delayed Opening for Students
March 28-April 4 Passover
March 29-April 1 Spring Break – Schools Closed for Students and Teachers
April 2 & 5 Spring Break & Easter Holidays – Schools and Offices Closed
April 9 End of Third Quarter (45 days)
April 12 Professional Day for Teachers – 2-Hr. Early Dismissal for Students
April 13 First Day of Ramadan
May 11 Last Day of Ramadan
May 13 Eid al-Fitr Holiday – Schools and Offices Closed
May 31 Memorial Day Holiday – Schools and Offices Closed
June 17 2-Hr. Early Dismissal for Students
June 18 Last Day for Students1 and End of Fourth Quarter (45 days) – 2-Hr. Early Dismissal for Students
June 21 Last Day for Teachers

Palestinian Rights

Maryland Muslim Organizations Statement on Recent Israel Action in Jerusalem
May 24, 2021

We the undersigned Maryland Muslim organizations strongly condemn the recent actions of the Israeli government which have sparked violence that has led to over 240 deaths and rising, including those of many children. These actions violate human rights, international law and the norms of civilized conduct by nations. Key actions include:
The illegal forced expulsion of several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The desecration of one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Al-Aqsa mosque, during the holy month of Ramadan, on its holiest night.
The ongoing blockade of the Gaza strip which has devastated its economy, deprived its residents of livelihood, freedom of movement, access to water and electricity, and blocked trade and commerce.
These actions represent a continued escalation of years of oppression, violation of Palestinian human rights, illegal annexation of Palestinian land, and many other actions which are not in conformity with America’s highest values. Many of these actions constitute war crimes, as determined by highly respected organizations such as Human Rights Watch and violations of international law, as determined by the United Nations.

We urge the US Government to immediately press Israel to stop these expulsions, halt the illegal appropriation of Palestinian land, and begin an immediate process of conforming with international law and universal human rights in all Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

In addition, we should immediately cease the supply to Israel of weaponry and armaments which are used to implement these actions.

We also urge the US Government to hold the Israeli government accountable to the same standards of conduct that it applies to the rest of the world.

We are also asking all of our elected representatives to take a principled position, uphold American values of humanity, liberty and justice, and not remain silent in the face of this injustice.

Respectfully,

Anne Arundel County Muslim Council (AACMC)
Frederick County Muslim Council (FCMC)
Howard County Muslim Council (HCMC)
Montgomery County Muslim Council (MCMC)
Prince Georges County Muslim Council (PGCMC)
United Maryland Muslim Council (UMMC)
Bash Pharoan – Baltimore County
Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM)
Islamic Society of Germantown (ISG)
Islamic Society of Washington Area (ISWA)
Islamic Community Center of Potomac (ICCP)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Office in Maryland
Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB)
The Noor Center
Muslim American Society (MAS) Maryland
Muslim Voices Coalition (MVC)
Indonesian Muslim Association in America Center (IMAAM)
Progressive Democrats of Howard County (PDHC)
Muslim Community Center (MCC)
Harford Islamic Center (HIC)
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Islamic Community Center of Laurel (ICCL)

Police Reform

Maryland State Legislature Passes Police Reform and other PGCMC Supported Legislation


In the 2021 Legislative Session that ended this month Maryland passed and made law several pieces of legislation to address police misconduct and to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

HB 670 – Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 – Police Discipline and Law Enforcement Programs and Procedures

House Bill 670 overhauls the police disciplinary process and makes Maryland the first state in the nation to fully repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. It replaces it with a civilian–driven, public–facing approach to police discipline. The bill also requires increased training and assessments for officers.

Fully repealing of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights
Enhancing civilian–driven transparency in police misconduct
Supporting civilian complaints
Imposing swift and uniform penalties for police misconduct
Police agencies can no longer destroy or expunge police misconduct and disciplinary records
SB 494 – Juvenile Restoration Act
Senate Bill 494 ends juvenile life sentences without parole; individuals who were convicted as adults for an offense committed as a minor can be considered for parole after being imprisoned for at least 20 years for the offense.

SB 71 – Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 – Body-Worn Cameras, Employee Programs, and Use of Force

Senate Bill 71 requires for the first time ever that all local and state law enforcement officers to wear body cameras by 2025. The legislation also significantly limits the use of force by law enforcement and allows it when it is necessary and proportional and requires officers to intervene when excessive force is used.

HB 1210 – Corporate Diversity – Board, Executive Leadership, and Mission
Companies should look like the communities they serve, because corporate board decisions impact employees, investment policies and our state’s economy. House Bill 1210 requires Maryland companies to report on the racial diversity of their boards; requires companies to demonstrate racial diversity in board membership, executive leadership OR mission in order to qualify for State capital funding, tax credits or contracts over one million dollars by fiscal year 2023 and requires Commerce and the Governor’s Office of Minority and Small Business Affairs to create a score card to report composition of corporate governance, employees, minority business contracts as well as diversity policies for the 430,000 business entities in the State.

HBCU Settlement Bill
$577 Million over ten years to settle a lawsuit that Maryland was running a segregated higher education system that disadvantaged its four HBCUs – Bowie State, Coppin State, Maryland Eastern Shore and Morgan State.

Maryland Sukuk Bond Study

Through the lobbying efforts of PGCMC and the support of legislators such as Del. Erek Barron and Senator Antonio Hayes the Maryland State Legislature included in the 2019 budget bill a requirement for the Maryland State Treasurer to study the requirements for offering a sukuk bond in Maryland. The opening of the study is as follows:

I. Introduction
The 2019 Joint Chairmen’s Report requires the State Treasurer’s Office to study the adoption and implementation of “alternative financial investment bonds” in the State. The phrase “alternative financial investment bonds” refers to sukuk bonds, an Islamic term describing a type of security that is structured to avoid practices which are common in other financings, but
prohibited by Islamic law. It is the goal of this study to provide the Maryland General Assembly a broad overview of sukuk, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by implementing a sukuk bond
program.

II. Description of Sukuk
Sukuk are financial instruments issued in equal value that represent a common share of ownership of the underlying asset or usufruct. Sukuks are Islamic financial certificates used to conduct business for individuals and entities that comply with sharia law. They are often called Islamic bonds as the overall structure attempts to parallel the mainstream bond market. Sharia law are the religious laws that govern behavior within Islamic traditions. There are three main concepts prohibited by sharia law that fundamentally impact other financial transactions: riba, gharar, and
maysir.

The report may be found at: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs/BudgetFiscal/2019rs-budget-docs-jcr.pdf.

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