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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. Ed

    Oh please, they are worried? We are worried. Notice THEY don't have the same fear of being attacked as US. They are not worried about a single attack. What a fake story for CNN.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • Xugos

      Agreed, not to mention Eid isn't even on the 11th, but on either the 10th or 9th.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  2. FromNJ

    No matter what you say about coincidence the fact remains the reason for 9/11 was the islamic religion.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      So, according to you, of course, all Muslims who objected to what happened on 9/11 should have instantly and forever renounced their faith?

      BTW, many religions have been twisted and used as a tool for power and revenge throughout history.

      September 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  3. amber

    My birthday is on 9-11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Sympathies & happy celebration...but you hit "Post" a few times there, eh?

      September 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • lorgat

      I am a strict muslim and i would like to inform you that muslims in fact does not have to celebrate anything.A true muslim should at the end of ramadan go to your mosques and pray to god for and thank him for seeing us thru a difficult fasting,after that go home get togrther with the family,have lunch and go to the grave yard and pray fot the allready deceased relatives and go home and thats all.going to six flags and parties and celebrating that way is very un islamic.refrain from that.

      September 6, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  4. ProudAmerican

    To all Muslims, Christians, jews, black people, white people, asian people, mexicans and Anyone living in America – Don't worry. The United States is the land of the free. Freedom of Religion, speech, and other liberties. If you are living in the United States you are entitled to Life, Liberty, and Happiness no matter your background. Many Americans have forgotten what exactly the United States stands for. This is the land of the FREE. I don't care what religion, race, ethnic background, or other thing you are. You have Rights and freedoms in the country. Please feel free to practice your religion without a guilty feeling. Any logical American knows that the terrorist attacks were conducted by some ignorant assss guys tying to use religion as an excuse.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  5. QB

    People calm down.. The most important thing happening next Sunday is week 1 of the NFL season anyway. Thank GOD for America!!

    September 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  6. amber

    My birthday is on 9-11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was, nobody will be spewing hate at me. Discrimintating is wrong

    September 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Fareen

    Eid may either be on Sept 9 or 10. Shoddy work CNN!

    September 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  8. amber

    My birthday is on 9/11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  9. amber

    My birthday is on 9/11 and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day. I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  10. amber

    My birthday is on 9.11 and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  11. Guri Singh

    I think it is sad that we have reached a point where Muslims cannot celebrate a day that is religious to them.

    I wonder if US would ban X'Mas celebration if 9/11 had happened on 12/25.

    I think everyone should celebrate their religious customs in US. This is THE land of the FREE.
    This is why I came here 20+ years ago and yes, US is my home country as well.

    Eid Mubarak to all.

    PS. For those who will think that I am biased towards, I am not. I went to a Catholic school and every morning I prayed to Holy Father in heaven. I celebrate all events, from Eid to X'Mas to Chinese New Year to Kwanzaa.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • Ed

      Get a life.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Well, Happy Holidays, Guri!! 🙂

      September 5, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
  12. amber

    My birthday is on 9.11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Josh

    Freedom of religion baby

    September 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  14. amber

    My birthday is on 9-11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that to me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  15. amber

    My birthday is on 9.11 and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I know that its not my fault my birthday happened to be on that day, and I really cant judge the fact that another religion's holiday so happens to land on that day. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  16. George

    Muslims worldwide should be shown the respect they have earned and deserve. That being said...ZEIG HEIL !!

    September 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  17. amber

    My birthday is on 9-11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I know that its not my fault my birthday happened to be on that day, and I really cant judge the fact that another religion's holiday so happens to land on that day. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim, that too me, is discriminating.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • Stephanie Varnado

      Happy Birthday Amber! Celebrate and have a fabulous day. Prayers for those no longer with us and for those who struggle among us are in order. Once done it's time to play.

      September 5, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  18. iac249

    To paraphrase from a great civil rights leader, I dream of a day when my children will be judged by the content of their character and not by their religion.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • Black Bartholomew

      @iac249

      The way people are around here, you're either dreaming, crazy, or it'll work for only one day. Unless your kids dress up in religious costume, I sure wouldn't worry about it. But then again....how much koolaid are you gonna give 'em?

      September 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  19. SJtR

    those bunch of chicken littles. They push a mosque down peoples throats who obviously dont want it built on the area muslims destroyed and killed so many, now they are boo hooing that their nervous. This is what we call "Hamming it up"

    September 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • iac249

      It's a community center. And it's at Park Place, not Ground Zero.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
    • Fred

      This is to iac249

      I have some swamp land in Florida that I think you would be interested in.

      September 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  20. amber

    My birthday is on 9-11, and I am a catholic, and I had lost an uncle on that same day, and I will be celebrating my birthday on that day, as well as have a drink in memory of how great my uncle was. I know that its not my fault my birthday happened to be on that day, and I really cant judge the fact that another religion's holiday so happens to land on that day. Saying not to have a celebration because of it 9 years later is really discriminating. I will be celebrating on that day but nobody will be spewing hate at me for it, because I am not muslim.

    September 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.