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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. feather

    Now I'm curious as to what end-of-Ramadan celebrations are planned for my area. We've a fairly substantial Muslim community in my immediate neighborhood, and I'd rather like to support them if I can. I'd offer to make a dish, but as I've never cooked according to halal, I'm afraid I'd inadvertently mess that one up.

    Several of my daughter's best friends are Muslim. It distresses me that they've never known a world where they could celebrate the end of Ramadan without having to be cautious about what people around them might think.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • Malz

      Hey Feather, thats sounds very sweet of youl Halal only means that the meat or chicken is slaughtered certain way. Secondly halal means no alcohol or pork in food. If you really want to make a dish, make something sweet like dessert . Eid is a day of celeberation because it ends the fasting period. Desser will be easy and plus u dont have to worry about halal as far as you dont put gelatin or wine in it. Unfortunately , Muslims are considered second class citizen here but i know being an American Muslim myself that not all Americans think that way. America was founded on religious freedom and thats the beauty of this place.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  2. Healumall

    Hmmm.. Wikipedia says ramadan ends on the 9th this year.. So i guess they can celebrate 2 days later and its still a holiday. Interesting cnn very interesting.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  3. MikeyB

    Any real American that reads this story should feel ashamed. All of the people who always claim to be following the wishes of our "Founding Fathers" have caused this problem. We were founded on the basis of religious freedom. This is not freedom. 99% of muslims did not cause 9/11. A real American would be able to recognize that and allow these people to practice their religion as they wish. I apologize to all muslim Americans that have no choice but to endure this terrible hypocrisy.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Marrrg

      I'm a real American and I don't feel ashamed at all. First off, I refuse to feel shame for someone else's guilt. I personally have never treated an American Muslim poorly. Secondly, no one is asking or making Muslims alter their celebrations- that is their decision. Just because some American extremests are violent towards Muslims doesn't mean that sentiment is shared by all non-Muslim Americans! The only people who should have to have the burden of feeling shame are the guilty themselves.

      September 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  4. Albert

    This is really no different than the "Christian" holidays of Easter and Christmas, both of which make a mockery of the Bible and Christ since neither are Biblical, nor did Christ ask his followers to celebrate these "holidays" . In fact, both of these holidays have pagan origins. Look it up Easter bunny (God Of fertility), the Christmas tree, mistletoe, etc., all pagan. All non Biblical.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Sasha

      That load of bunk again? Check out Luke. You know that he was one of the twelve disciples and he wrote scripture during his lifetime, about events he personally witnessed that were determined to have been divinely inspired, including: Christ's Nativity, the Mystical Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. It would be very difficult for a chronology of events that was written about those events to include traditions that developed later.

      Linking the Nativity and Easter to pagan activities is the response of modern neo-pagans who want their recent traditions to seem as though they had no beginning. Deliberately modern Wiccans greet each other with "blessed be," as they have truncated the liturgical response "Blessed be God forever," obscuring the liturgical origin. Not terribly creative, is it?

      September 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  5. robert Doug Schrecengost

    Take a poll to see what percentage of American Muslims support [or agree] with the stoning to death of the Iranian girl [after the 99-lashes]. What do American Muslims believe in?

    September 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  6. Proud american

    Loser,, grow up. White trash. Stop hating others. Be some thing in ur life . If u have any brain, use it.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  7. AGA

    Islam in America

    http://whyislam.org/MuslimWorld/IslaminAmerica/tabid/294/Default.aspx

    September 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Fred

      Please explain or send a link as to an explanation on how Islam can work with Democracy. I know it by the phrase "Separation of Church and State".

      From my understanding Islam is both a religion and political system.

      September 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • Xugos

      Fred, thank you for at least admitting "your understanding". 🙂 It is not a political system unless you are an "islamist". Normal muslims love the society they live in and just want to express their faith and abide by the law.

      September 5, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  8. manuel

    People like Palin, beck, Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh. O'really, Sean Hannity, etc… really scare me!!! Because they influence a lot of people inflicting fear which leads to aggression and hate. Lots of people are being influenced by these dittoheads

    September 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • John

      I allign myself with the Palins, Robertson's, Hannity's etc then with terrorist sympaythizers!

      September 5, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
    • Arrr!

      abandon all hope, all ye hemorrhoids like John who post here!

      Arrr!

      September 5, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  9. Anon

    Why should muslims not celebrate Eid. or why cant anyone not celebrate 9/11. Freedom of speech is right of all the citizens. Palin worshippers or anyone else. i hope all the muslims exercise their 2nd amendment right ,

    September 5, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • ben

      Anon learn the constitution, its the first amendment right to free speech not the second unless you want muslims to keep and bear arms which would cause all kinds of problems for you.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  10. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SkbCVxhZv8&w=640&h=360]

    September 5, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • Haters

      You are creepy!!!

      September 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  11. obsthetimes

    Totally unnecessary fearmongering and giving the good old USA a bad name.
    I've been to many muslim celebrations since 9-11 and the participants have been uninhibited and the opposite of fearful.
    This is an unjust attack on good decent americans who never have denied muslims their celebrations and observances.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  12. Proud american

    Stop living with ur parents loser n start respecting ladies.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  13. glenda

    u know what i lived in your country and i was not allowed to do anything that was not as u thought it should be.....we cant practice faith in your country we can't own anything in your country, but you come here and have free rein and no sympathy and play the poor victim......if i played for victim in your country i would have been stoned for something i'm sure

    September 5, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Xugos

      In MY country, we have Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of the Press, Freedom from government established religion, that's quite odd that you would experience that in MY country...

      September 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • obsthetimes

      That is totally not the point. The point is that muslims have been absolutely free to practice their religion and organize their celebrations.
      What do we have to do so that they will stop crying wolf?
      Organize an iftar party on Broadway on a sunday. They can do that and nobody would stop them.

      September 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  14. Stephanie Varnado

    I buried my infant son on my daughter's 4th birthday. After the funeral there was an appropriate party for the 4 year old. There have been parties ever since even though the memory of that day is burned into my psyche. We cannot stop celebrating the important things in life just because it is emotionally inconvenient or uncomfortable. I say celebrate and as you do offer prayers for all those fallen on 911. They wouldn't want you to cower in fear.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Xugos

      That's sad, you have my condolences.

      September 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • Curtin

      this is such a wonderful statement but so sad. I wish people had your compassion and realized muslims are also human beings, not monsters.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Guest

    US Muslims must show their tolerance for other faiths and declare their solidarity with US causes. If they support crazy mullahs who encourage radicalism in youth, like that idiot in NY, and adults, like that marine nutjob, they do not deserve our sympathy. Likewise, if they keep silent while their fellow muslims commit crimes against humanity in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and every other place – all in the name of Islam – they do not deserve our sympathy. Silence is not golden in this case. Islamic extremism, which seems to be tolerated by US muslims, is not acceptable. This is why they and their faith are both detested. Neither is wanted in the US.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Kate

      @Guest

      If you mean Nidal Hassan, he was Army – speaking as a retired Marine, I'd just like to point out that anyone who can't tell the difference between Army and Marines is themselves quite likely a nutjob.

      Just sayin'

      September 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  16. manuel

    The Sept 11 attacks were a violent act against humanity. People from All races, religions and social status were murdered that day. Unfortunately as a consecuence of those attacks, muslims have been the most affected. People often forget the thousands of Iraquis, Afgans that have been killed.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sasha

      People also forget that one of bin Laden's reasons was allegedly the Crusades. For those who remember history, the Crusades took place as Christians were defending Jerusalem from Muslim intruders; apparently they were supposed to just take it and not fight back.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
    • NWU

      hahahaha!!! Wow, sasha, just wow. I never post for these things but i felt like i just had to respond to your precious little nugget of misinformation there about the crusades. Contrary to what you seem to be implying, there weren't any european christians just hanging around living out their lives in jerusalem when they were suddenly attacked by hoards of muslims. This may come as a shock to you, but it was actually the other way around. You should do some reading, maybe check out wikipedia to start you off if you've ever heard of it. This may be a good time to start cultivating a more healthy relationship with facts. Lol, but tell me, in your version of history did the slaves also invade the americas and force the white colonists at gunpoint to give them work on their plantations without any pay?

      That being said, i just want to emphasize that the sole reason for my response was to point out to you that you don't know what you're talking about (which is not suprising, most hate mongers don't), not to imply that the crusades are a justification for any further violence.

      September 6, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  17. bully

    Good i hope you muslims feel insecure, no matter what the lefty followers on CNN say they are a minority with a big loudspeaker. Remember that.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Xugos

      No, I don't feel insecure, I spend most of the year living in a right-wing town in rural Texas (lubbock), arguably the most right-wing town in America. I feel pretty welcome there, and don't worry about lunatics like you.

      September 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  18. KT

    I think the quote "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," really sums it up well. Obviously American Muslims have the right to celebrate their holidays, even if they fall on 9/11, but I think that by trying to open up to their local communities via open houses, etc on that day- things that are all-inclusive to the community- definitely will give them a better image. Also, that quote really does show that 9/11 isn't a day for only Judeo-Christian and atheist Americans to remember, but for ALL Americans to remember and honor. I think it's a very respectful thing to do- to just hold off on the carnivals, but still be out and about and educating others about their religion.

    also, I don't think that Bush was responsible for this anti-Islam feel. And I'm a democrat saying that.

    and by the way, as someone who grew up in NY but (thank God) didn't lose anyone on 9/11, I don't think most Americans are really all that sensitive about it anymore. If they actually lost someone that day, well that's a different story.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
  19. Eric G.

    If you are not a Muslim, why do you care when they celebrate? Do you hate Muslims because your god told you to? How do you know if your god is man-made? Because he hates all the same people you do.

    September 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  20. Americanotpaki

    After 9/11 there was dancing and distribution of sweets in Palestine. Most Muslims in US and Europe secretly sympathized with the terrorists. Some Muslims felt US deserved it. Now it is hilarious to see them at the receiving end. I say sock it to them.

    September 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • Xugos

      There is a dispute to the muslim thing in Palestine. That was a clip of palestinians celebrating in regards to an Iraqi scud rocket successfully being launched and hitting Israel, not that that is a good thing, but it's different from celebrating the death of civilians.

      MOST MUSLIMS DID NOT SYMPATHIZE WITH TERRORISTS.

      How do you know what most muslims felt that day? Did you ask them? If not, your arguments are entirely arbitrary and false.

      It's sad that people stoop as low as using the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans as an excuse for hate and defiance of our own constitution.

      September 5, 2010 at 9:03 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.