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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. Sin

    If there is only 1% of muslims that are bad or extreme how does the other 99% not fight back in the middle east and take back there countries. It seems that the good muslims all condem the violence but when help is needed trying to find the bad apples it just seems its not there example Pakistan.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  2. Sugu

    I think we should let Muslims celebrate the festival. While a few Muslims are responsible for 9/11, millions of others have nothing to do with and also no one planned Eid to fall on 9/11 this year.

    If you remember even when US Military was in Iraq Ramadan was celebrated in Iraq and possibly US Military provided security. I see no reason to stop American Muslims now only because of the date.

    I am not sure if people born on Sept 11th stopped celebrating their birthdays completely since 9/11. Possibly they did on the day it happened, but now? Should we expect everybody to stop celebrating their birthday only because of they were born on 9/11.

    Though we all need to be more vigilant about security, I think we also need grow beyond 9/11 and not let it impact our values and way of life.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  3. Crusader

    "Unfortunately, these are the times we live in." Yeah, 9/11/2001 changed everything when those nuts hijacked those planes and killed all those people – in the name of this so-called religion of peace. Islam is an evil scourge that must be wiped off the face of the earth or they will destroy us all.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  4. ROCKWOOD

    I am very confused about Muslims in America. I have to make a conscious effort not to be prejudiced ever day. 9/11 is just around the corner. It is a day that Americans will never forget. Yet with my own confusion as to my feelings of the Muslim religion, I must admit that they are entitled to practice their religion in America. It’s one of our fundamental freedoms. I did a brief research on this Ramadan holiday and it seems to bounce around the calendar like Easter does, therefore, I see no reason to condemn them for celebrating…….however, as Kattih stated in the article it would probably be wise to celebrate on 9/10 and 9/12.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  5. John

    Muslims are the Barbarians of the modern day era.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:20 am |
    • jspitzer

      Muslims are Celtic and German?

      September 7, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  6. LiberalNN

    Too bad. Learn to live with what your Muslim brothers did in the name of Allah. Go ahead and celebrate but don't expect us to understand or care.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  7. AnOrdinaryJoe

    It is a commendable gesture by the muslim community to give back to the community etc on 9/11. I wish the people of Cardoba Initiative learn something from this, take the higher ground and move the mosque to some other place. On one hand majority of muslims are opting to be generous enough and respect people's sentiments on 9/11 yet the nuckle heads at Cardoba do not seem to get a clue at it? The muslim community does not have to mellow down on their celebrations, yet if they so choose to soi on their own, it speaks for itself. Almost looks like there are the oridinary muslims who are an integral part of the society and there are the Cardoba initiative folks who want to rub it on the face of this country by building their mosque near ground zero and may be setup and infrastructure to breed terrorists.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  8. Segweg

    Oh boo-hoo the Muslims are scared.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Alert Citizen

      Anyone will be scared of the ignorance Americans display!

      September 6, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  9. Scott G

    If ISlAM wasn't such a HATEFUL religion you wouldn't have to be worried, but it IS and MUSLIMS need to face the FACTS. You HATE EVERYONE !! PERIOD. This is why people you call "extremists" hate Islam.

    September 6, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • Alert Citizen

      You are the perfect Ignorant American!

      September 6, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  10. lindy

    Why are they nervous..synagogues in the US have been under attack by radical isalm for years! They even have police protection all year round from radical islam nuts!

    September 6, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  11. MuDdLe

    Here's an idea: make your Ramadan celebrations bittersweet this year. Fly the U.S. flag at your centers and wave it as you celebrate elsewhere. While there, discuss the impact that 911 had upon you as an American. Publicize speeches and editorials from your leaders regarding the atrocity that was 911.

    Islam most certainly does have a PR problem in this country. Even many reasonable people ride the fence regarding their perception of the religion. What they wish to know is which groups are consistent with the essential teachings of the religion: the "extremists" or the "moderates." This is the perfect opportunity for American Islamic leaders to give needed assurances.

    Just a thought.

    September 6, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  12. Reality

    Considering all Muslims have been victimized by the great Gabriel con, on 9/11 they should burn their korans. And Christians should burn their NT's come Easter for being victimized by the great Resurrection con!!

    September 6, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  13. GUEST

    First of all..I don't care who belongs to which religion...But in this case.
    Muslims started it and they have to bear it...they know that GZ is bound with sentiments..It looks like they wanted to rake up this issue and see how far it goes. I know large amount of muslims any where in the world are victims of a small group of idiots. First of all they (larghe group) need to have a unity for understanding these kins of things than following issues raised by small portion of idiots. In this case they should forget about the buildings and understand the sentiments of people living in this country. I know ppl has liberty in bulding anything but that should be with commn sense. Not to make it as an issue and let large portion of people live in harmony than spread hatred among people for their selfish ideology. That makes them away from all these fears.

    September 6, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  14. Mei

    Muslims should plan their celebrations on another day and they should denounce the Ground Zero mosque since they know how disrespectful it is. A good example of this situation is when nuns in Germany wanted to set up monastery in a Nazi concentration camp but the pope at the time, JPII, said no. Even though Catholics died at the Nazi camp too (including several religious who were declared saints later on), he said it was disrespectful to the Jewish community. If a pope can recognize this, the Islam community should too.

    September 6, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  15. MAVV

    Where my comments? CNN is Muslim just like Obbabamaaa

    September 6, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  16. Gregg3Gs

    Instead of "giving back to their country" why don't they go back to their country? This claim that "It's not our religion, it's just some certain bad members" and that Islam is supposedly a peaceful religion is crap. There are terrorist training schools — madrassas — right in mosques, with the blessing and support of imams. What more do I need to say? Go blow up your own country and your own people; Americans don't like you here.

    September 6, 2010 at 8:00 am |
    • mmom

      "It is better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." Pray tell what is the "country" to which Muslims must return? You sir, or madam, as the case may be display a woeful lack of knowledge..... about geography, about ethnicity, about culture. Sad! Sad! Sad!

      September 6, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  17. MAVV

    BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN....lets all sing along! BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN...only if we can. Sign the course again. BOMB BOMB BOOM IRAN....if only Isreal can. Lets all clear the land.......BOMB BOMB BOMB....let get it over with soon as we can ! Where is GWBush when we need his a#$$ ? Can he ever run again after being out office 4 yrs? Is that legal?

    September 6, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  18. Fred

    I wonder what it is like to drag a muslim thru the streets?

    September 6, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  19. Beckfan

    Bush started this? I don't think so. I don't hate Muslims, and I don't think all muslims are terrorists. But, so far all the terrorists have been muslim! Celebrate what you want but don't tell me that this faith isn't intolerant and oppressive to women.

    September 6, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  20. Funny Crap

    youtube.com/watch?v=eVMKBOANOc0&feature=related

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVMKBOANOc0&w=640&h=360]

    September 6, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • ROCKWOOD

      If the ‘r’ word was still politically correct, I’d call you one.

      September 6, 2010 at 8:49 am |
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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.