New Jersey School District Responds To 'Inflammatory' Ramadan Flyer

A New Jersey school district has apologized after receiving criticism over an assistant principal’s “inflammatory” Monday flyer about Ramadan that highlighted “Muslim oppression.”

The flyer, distributed to students and staff at Columbia High School in Maplewood, described the importance of Ramadan, the holy month observed by Muslims. It went on to acknowledge oppression in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and other countries, as well as emphasizing the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory of Gaza amid Israeli military strikes.

“When we speak about celebrating Ramadan within the U.S. context, it is imperative to contextualize that the U.S. is a co-conspirator with Israel, preventing Muslim Palestinians from partaking in Ramadan as the Israeli Zionist occupation enacts a genocide against them,” the flyer said.

After parents complained about the flyer, Kevin Gilbert, the acting superintendent of the South Orange and Maplewood School District, sent an apology letter to “families, staff, and community members,” according to NBC News.

“The document was not reviewed or approved by any district office or personnel, and while the intention of sharing the document was to provide a resource, serious content was overlooked,” Gilbert said in the apology letter. “This resource contained language that, at any time, would be inflammatory but, particularly now, is deeply problematic and inappropriate for our schools.”

“Personally, I am disappointed, angered and saddened by the communication that occurred,” Gilbert said, adding that the district is looking for a more “appropriate” acknowledgment of Ramadan. “The language in the document does not reflect what we believe creates a community that values inclusivity and belonging.”

Gilbert added that the assistant principal who sent the flyer didn’t agree with its content and that all future resources will be reviewed before being distributed.

Columbia High has also received criticism from parents over its principal’s arrest Monday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault after a conflict with a Black female student, according to New Jersey Advance Media.