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September 5th, 2010
07:54 PM ET

American Muslims nervous about Ramadan's end coinciding with 9/11

For Muslims, the end of the holy month of Ramadan is typically cause for celebration, with three days of feasting and socializing after a month of daytime fasting.

This year, though, many American Muslims are greeting Ramadan's end with a measure of worry, as the holiday coincides with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"Most Muslim communities will be reluctant to have something that's perceived to be celebratory on 9/11 even though we're not celebrating 9/11," said Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"There's a whole cottage industry of Muslim bashers now who would seize on that," he said. "Unfortunately, these are the times we live in."

With many American Muslims already feeling intense scrutiny over the controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero, many mosques and Islamic groups are dramatically altering their usual plans for Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan holiday.

In the United States, most mosques are expected to celebrate the holiday - typically called Eid - this Friday, September 10, though some may celebrate it a day later - Saturday, September 11 - because of their interpretation of the lunar cycle. Ordinarily, festivities - bazaars, potlucks, bowling alley parties - would extend for three days, following more solemn prayers on the morning of Eid itself.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, California recently announced that it was cancelling its Eid carnival, originally scheduled for Saturday.

"The decision to cancel the Carnival was due to the recent increase in the levels of hostilities against Islam and Muslims following the proposal to construct an Islamic Center in lower Manhattan," a statement on the center's web site said, "and to deprive extremists from the opportunity to claim that American Muslims are celebrating 9/11."

Eid has never coincided with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks before. Because Muslims follow a lunar calendar, the holiday falls roughly 11 days earlier with each passing year.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which made national headlines after the site of its future mosque was vandalized last month, has decided against scheduling any festivities for Saturday.

"It's a sad day for us as Americans and it's a sad day for us a nation and we don't feel it would be right to celebrate on the anniversary of 9/11," said Abdou Kattih, vice president of the center's board of directors.

Kattih, who says his brother-in-law was headed to an appointment near New York's World Trade Center on the morning of the 9/11 attacks but got stuck in traffic, says he would never schedule festivities on September 11.

In lieu of celebrations, many mosques are planning open houses next weekend in hopes of strengthening ties to their communities, according to Naeem Baig, vice president for public affairs at the Islamic Circle of North America.

"The anti-Muslim wave we are witnessing is really affecting the Muslim community," Baig said. "Some fear violence against their Islamic center. Rather than be afraid, we're encouraging them to be open and to let people come to their Islamic centers."

The Islamic Circle of North America normally schedules its annual Muslim Family Days at Six Flags amusement parks around Eid, but was careful this year to avoid scheduling any on September 11.

In most cities, Muslim Family Day will be either September 10 or 12, Baig said.

A coalition of influential Muslim groups, meanwhile, has announced a national day of service for September 11, aimed largely at burnishing the image of American Muslims at a sensitive time.

"All eyes will be on us this Eid and on 9/11," reads promotional material for the event. "...But can you imagine the power of a headline or TV news story that features American Muslims as citizens, giving back to our country?"

"On September 11th, let's show that we can rise above prejudice and hatred and be the kind of conscientious citizens who give back to our country by through a national 'Muslim Serve' campaign," the materials continue.

The event is being promoted by CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, among other organizations.

CAIR's Hooper said that some mosques fear attacks because of Eid and the 9/11 anniversary next weekend. He said his group is encouraging mosques to request stepped-up patrols from local police and to review security procedures.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Holidays • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Ramadan

soundoff (690 Responses)
  1. Trent

    I like how the Muslims are portraying themselves as the victims on 9/11....classic.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:42 am |
    • Edwin

      Trent: several muslims WERE victims directly of the bombings - roughly 10% of those killed were muslim. But American muslims have felt a wave of hatred rise against them as a result of the actions of 19 crazed individuals, so their lives have been harmed, too - much more than the typical American's has.

      September 6, 2010 at 1:48 am |
  2. Norm

    If the "Muslims" are Americans I would hope they would recognize the significance of 9/11 and hold back their celebration to a reasonable level. Many Americans especially those whom their families were directly effected will be grieving and at the very least have the people who died in their mind and to celebrate their own holiday accordingly. If the Muslims are Americans they too should be thinking of their fellow Americans who died at the hands of terrorists. I am not saying to ignore Ramadan, but don't celebrate your Holiday blindly. Maybe even start your celebration of Ramadan with a moment of silence to honor those who died. I know there is a big gray area as to what is 'too much' or what would be 'acceptable' celebration. If say this tragic event happened on Easter Sunday for instance. I am sure that Holiday would be changed for most Americans. I'm sure there would still be an Easter egg find for the kids, however again the twin towers incident can't be ignored. As time goes by, I'm sure some wounds will heal. Like the date of the Pearl Harbor attack is still a date of reflections for those who lost their lives, but we move on. The main thing is to remember, and never forget. All Americans no matter what religion should respect important dates in the history of American, both good and bad. Just don't be ignorant about it.

    – Norm

    PS – I hope people understand the importance of remembrance, Americans of all types. I think 9/11 can be honored as well as Ramadan, just again be mindful if you are a true American.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:41 am |
  3. Michael, Chapel Hill

    Islam as a religion has squandered a lot of good will not only in the US but in other parts of the world. Though CNN does not publish acts of terrorism perpetrated by Muslims worldwide Islamic terrorism is something quite a few nations in the world try to cope with. Africa, India , China, Thailand, Malasia, Thailand, Philippines,Netherlands, France, England, USSR, etc..are a few continents/countries that are reeling with the pain of Islamic terrorism. Most of the common people do not know which Muslim is not going to be a terrorist. When people are confused, sure there will be fear, hate, intolerance etc. If the Muslim community come forward and weed out the terrorists among them-which they may not do- may create better good will towards Islam as a whole.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Edwin

      Michael: let's be fair - Christianity is currently responsible for atrocities, too, like the wave of child executions in Africa for witchcraft.

      My point is not that christianity is evil, but that all religions are vulnerable to extremists. The extremists do not define christianity, any more than they define Islam.

      September 6, 2010 at 1:45 am |
  4. I'm Listening

    Eid Mubarak! I'm a white female born in the USA who converted to Islam on the facts that I researched. I found the info I was given all my life about Jesus was incorrect. That my parent s just went with what they were taught and previous generations before them as well. I had always questioned the right to call Jesus "son of God". When A light bulb went off over my head, that God does not have any children. We are to worship him alone with no other. This made perfect sense to me that the creator and Jesus are two separate entities. We must not worship a messenger/prophet as it is forbidden by God. I researched and found the truth. No matter how much you have hatred toward Islam, it is the right way of life to follow. The Koran is the word of God given to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and that will never change. EVER!!!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  5. jeffallan

    If 19 peoples act is enough to demand apology from a billion people then I guess us white people need to apologize till we run out of breath. Where should I start? Slaughtering of millions of native Americans to colonialism to ww1,ww2 where we killed our own kind by 100s of millions, slaughter of jews, bombings in laos, camobia, Vietnam, south americans, millions of Iraqis, Afghans etc with carpet, cluster, napalm, depleted uranium bombings, drone bombings etc etc.
    Where is the moderate westerners? Where is the moderate white person talking against the wars? Where the heck are they? Ooh thats right we dont need to apologize cause we are always right.
    PS: Im white myself.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • I'm Listening

      we will never hear an apology because they are too proud and stupid. They will never admit their wrongdoings. God will not let them pass GO either!

      September 6, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  6. Aysha

    Seriously, religion needs to stop causing problems in society. Yeah, September 11th is a day where thousands upon thousands of Americans will be mourning. And yes, September 11th is a day where Muslims will be celebrating Eid.

    Look up "Reconquista." It was a time period when both Christians and Muslims had occupied Spain. There was a war called the Battle of Covadonga, which took place in the summer of 722. Basically Christians had wiped out the Islamic population. Now would Christians not go to church when say.. the Assumption of Mary occurred? I mean, years ago their people were killing and wiping out a religious population, right? Its a public holiday in several countries, yet no one says a peep.

    WHO ARES do what you wants, thats what is so great about the country.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  7. How discipable

    Here we have a "religion of peace" coming the end of a barbaric pagan holiday. What about the sensitivity of the American Muslim community to those who have lost loved ones in New York, Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and around the world? Any sensitivity should come from the Muslim community not from the Christian American public who have given their life's blood to save the members who adhere to this barbaric faith.

    September 6, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  8. arta

    Is america a theocracy? And is Glenn Beck their new guru? Seriously, the Christian Taliban should realize that God is called by different names in different cultures. So, give it a rest.
    Muslims typically fast during the month of Ramadan, I am sure they have earned their full meals during Eid. C'mon, party away!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  9. Go Home Muslims!

    get the F out of our country – soon Americans will rise up against muslims – it will B bloody!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Xugos

      I'm going to have to call Troll.

      September 6, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  10. Nima

    If these muslim-Americans are really "American" and want to respect their country (America, which includes a lot of infidels and individuals who don't believe in Islam), maybe they should not publicly celebrate their religious holiday this year and try to show some sympathy with the rest of the Americans. I am an American with middle eastern roots, but to me America comes first then religion! I am personally sick and tired of followers of all religions that judge others by their beliefs (this includes muslims and christians!) Why can't people be nice to each other regardless of religion. A lot of miseries in the world are caused by these so called peaceful religions!

    September 6, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  11. John Galt

    19 of 19 hijackers on Sept 11 were Muslim. What is it about martrydom that allows muslims entry into heaven if they kill themselves while killing the "infidels". Forget Al Qaeda, what about all the Palestinians who have made suicide attacks against israelis, and our American forces compound when they were in Lebanon. What about all the suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan that are not Al Qaeda but just strong fundamental muslims. That fact is, you cannot separate the fundamental tenants of islam, that states not only the good things but provides for these barbaric practices. Their holy books and teachings define who the infidels are and what can be commanded of a muslim believer if the need for extreme action such as suicide to kill infidels is required (determined by ruling cleric(s)).

    There is no way believing muslims can truly separate church and state even when living in America as an immigrant or a citizen. Sharia law is practiced whether formally endorsed by the country where the muslim lives or not. Many governments in Europe allow some form of Sharia law to be self-managed by Islamic clerics for muslims, to include England. Make no mistake about it, God said, I am a loving God, I am a Just God and I am a Jealous God. There shall be no other gods before me.

    That is our dilemma, Islam, Judaism and Christianity all believe in the same God but have very deep differences regarding the one who sits on the right hand of God. Is it Jesus, is it Mohammed or are we still awaiting the coming of that holy one.

    There is no way the Christian nation of the the United States of America will ever allow the muslim faith to gain a foothold like it has done in Europe. We will not allow a methodical erosion of our secular democratic framework. I strongly believe what Sarkozy is trying to do in France is correct. If you immigrate to my country then it's total assimilation. We will not alow the setting up of a Sharia self-governing system while allowing muslims to hide behind the cloak of our Constitution. The freedom we achieved from Great Britain was achieved by Christians and the Constitution was written and signed by men, all Christians.

    Finally, we are a nation that has always been at war. It is in our DNA. Our whole history is about war and conquest, or war against oppressors. We did not ask 19 muslims to bomb our twin towers and kill thousands of innocent people. We did not ask the Japanese to bomb us at Pearl Harbor. We did not ask Hitler to exterminate jews of all european countries, and Poles and Slavs and Russians. When that happened, we reacted like a lion. Yes we lost thousands. But look at the price paid by peoples of the perpetrators. It was hell on earth for those millions who died. So I will say this in summary, I have no respect for a religions that requires their believers to commit suicide and kills others in the name of that religion (when ordered or allowed by clerics).

    September 6, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  12. harry bunson

    My message to the rest of America: GET OVER 9/11.

    It happened nearly 10 years ago, a few thousand people were kiled by Bush and Apartheid Israel. Everyone knows that Muslims had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Even if they did, you don't blame 1/4 of the world for the act of a few crazies, that would be like blaming all Christians because priests molested children... or all Jews because some Jews bankrupted millions of Americans in Ponzi schemes and other financial schenanigans....

    Before you claim the right to be angry on 9/11, or even recognize it as a date of note, demand a real investigation, if Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq, what makes you think he told the truth about some guy in a cave?

    September 5, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • wasabiwahabi

      Shall we "get over" slavery? The Holocaust? The Cole? The first attack on The Towers? Pearl Harbor? The Maine? You're dooming us to repeat history. The only thing we should forget are your asinine remarks.

      September 6, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  13. Justme

    I don't see an outcry for the bars, taverns, clubs to be closed on 9/11. How about Amusement parks, County Fairs or anything that might be fun, do you cry out that these shouldn't be open on 9/11? Do you deny any other Americans the right to do what they want on 9/11 or just the ones that are Muslims? Do you deny the right for those Americans that were born on 9/11 to celebrate their birthdays? What about those that chose to get married on 9/11?

    It's sad to see so many still living in fear and hating an entire religion and those that follow it because of extremists. No religion is without it's extremists. No one in the US should feel that they can't celebrate something pertaining to their religion, no matter what day it falls on.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  14. ps1781

    The only reason Muslims should be worried is because of crappy articles such as this one, giving racist dummies who are sitting at home unemployed and just looking for something to fight over another idea. The media keeps on ramming these things down peoples throats, it's as if all of these media outlets purposely want some thing to happen so they can get their next story.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  15. x-tian

    As somebody said before: not all muslim are terrosist but all terrosist are MUSLIM !!!!! fast,fast fast for what???to lose weight ??? lol Jesus said :I want mercy and not sacrifice

    September 5, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  16. Dee Smith

    @Xugos –I've been to Lubbock a few times, supposedly the most right-wing city in America, but right-wing or left-wing the people there are really nice and hospitable 🙂 .– *snicker* not quite THAT north of Austin. I meant, North Austin. 🙂

    I would like to clarify that I am not a Christian as the "world" may believe they know Christians. I am a follower of Christ. The Lamb who was slain to take away the sins of the world. This may annoy anyone posting but that truly means the "whole world."

    And there is still a party at my house on Eid and I hope at least one or two Muslims decide to contact me and roast something on the BBQ. I am an equal opportunity BBQ'r. 😀

    Regards,
    Dee

    September 5, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  17. helenh

    People stop complaining, just enjoy life. Life is too short to keep bubbling and complaining.
    Thank God and pray to God whether you are muslim or different religion, what do you benefit when you complain and complain, just be hapy and smile and God will take care of every body. God bless American and the freedom of religion and speech. Ameen.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  18. Asim

    You find a nice muslim next door who is kind and good member of society and think Islam is a beautiful religion. But he is in fact following just the 5% that is good in it, the core of islam is barbaric 5th century and that should not be welcomed into any civilized country. Based on size and scale of hate and violence in islam, there is absolutely no comparisons. Also comparison of today's happenings to historical events in other religions is not valid.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  19. my_name_is

    Eid falls on the Thrus/Friday, depending on the full moon siting. Most of these posting know nothing about islam. If we want to know about a relegion, read their book. We are taking the easy way out. I heard it on Fox, CNN, NBC.... What happen to finding out ourselves. It looks like a mob is forming, and that is never good. In 10yrs from now will be able to look back at what started end, or what was the turning only time will......

    September 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  20. letsnotgocrazy

    eid will be 9th or 10th so it's a non issue.

    but

    what do people do whose birthdays are on 9/11....every....year...?? just sayin......

    September 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.