HomeMt Laurel NewsCouncil celebrates Muslim holidays and women's history

Council celebrates Muslim holidays and women’s history

The meeting brought township recognition to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, it's three-day end celebration, and women throughout history who have been trailblazers for equality.

Jonathan Diaz/The Sun

Mount Laurel council approved proclamations that recognize Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Women’s History Month at its regular meeting on March 4.

Mayor Fozia Janjua – the first Muslim and South Asian woman to serve in that role – read the proclamation recognizing Ramadan (March 10 through April 9) and Eid al-Fitr (April 9 and 10).

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“Muslims worldwide observe the month of Ramadan through prayer, fasting, self-reflection and acts of charity to remember the first revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,” the mayor read.

Ramadan is on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and lasts either 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new crescent moon is – or should be – visible. Muslims break their daily fasts at sunset by sharing meals with family and friends, and the end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is a celebration where Muslims visit family and friends, exchange presents, enjoy feasts and share good tidings. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by showing gratitude, as well as remembering Ramadan and the charitable sacrifices many Muslims made during the fasting month. Members of the Mount Laurel Muslim Association were presented with the proclamation.

Women’s History Month is observed every March to honor, commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Through leadership, innovation, and ingenuity, generations of women have made significant contributions in the fields of science, medicine, technology, business, politics, entrepreneurship, and arts and culture,” the council proclamation stated.

“Women continue to break barriers, lead the fight for justice and social reform, and continue to provide healing and hope for our society.”

The document also cited female trailblazers from the township who’ve played a vital role in history. Ethel Lawrence led the effort to create the “Mount Laurel Doctrine,” which requires that at least half of all housing units be affordable to residents earning less than 50% of the AMI (Area Median Income), including a 13% set-aside for residents earning less than 30% AMI.

Alice Paul, like Lawrence, was born and raised in Mount Laurel. She become a leading figure in the suffrage movement and a key contributor to the passing of the 19th amendment that granted women the right to vote.

“The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month,” the proclamation noted. “The theme for 2024 celebrates women who advocate for euity, diversity and inclusion. This theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, bias and discrimination need to be eliminated entirely.

“It honors women who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in the quest for equality and opportunity.”

During the council remarks portion of the meeting, Councilwoman Karen Cohen took a moment to cite local women leaders.

“How lucky are we in Mount Laurel to have so many barrier-breaking women as we celebrate Women’s History Month,” she noted. (Mount Laurel was home to) Alice Paul and Ethel Lawrence; civil rights pioneers. (Also) Mayor (Fozia) Janjua; (Township Manager) Meredith Riculfy; our Police Chief, (Judy) Schiavone; (and township CFO and Treasurer) Tara Krueger.

“We are strong and we are women,” Cohen added. “So I’m proud that we’re celebrating (Women’s History Month), and in honor of that, I’m proud that I’m actually wearing the colors of International Women’s Day, which is purple, green, and white.”

The next council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1.


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