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. W.G.

    They call people that question their motives as "moslim bashers " but they fail to realize why .
    They are U.S. citizens but work for the downfall of our nation . They know who is radical but
    fail to do anything about them . Indeed some go as far as to support them and or the organizations
    that will use them for suicide missions . When they say they "condemn" a terrorists actions those are
    just words when you do nothing to stop them also asks yourselves did you celebrate Quds day ?
    Is this the action of the so called religion of peace ? To hope and wish for the downfall of your
    country , a country that gives you the right to believe in your god that will prosecute people who
    threaten your right to worship . But could any moslem based country guarantee that same freedom ?

    September 6, 2010 at 5:22 am |
  2. Cap'n Ed

    One of the great paradoxes of American life is that in some ways we're an open society... but in other ways we're intolerant against those that don't fully assimilate... – – Now these Muslims have to worry about fear mongers starting rumors that they're having 9/11 celebrations and causing trouble... Eventually Muslim Americans are going to have to face the same dilemma every other ethnic group in America has had up until now... whether to assimilate more or preserve cultural and religious traditions more Orthodoxly. Welcome to the real world !

    September 6, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  3. Dave

    Let the bigots be bigots, and celebrate anyway.

    FYI- Ancient Islam and ancient Christianity are both barbaric. Both are embraced by extremists, both are used for terrorism. Most people that follow each are peace-loving and just trying to get through their lives. There is no Muslim conspiracy to take over the world any more than there is a Christian one. They both try to convert people, yes, but that is the nature of proselytizing, which each Abrahamic religion seems to be focused on.

    September 6, 2010 at 4:48 am |
  4. jimmyfantana

    Enjoy your holiday. Leave it to the media to stir up conflict once again. It's the same group of stupid Americans who follow whichever way the media spins it having no solid opinion for themselves. God Bless America and God Bless us troops. To hell with the news.

    September 6, 2010 at 4:40 am |
  5. TyHouston

    Ohh I'm muslim, poor me poor me, pity me, put me on the news for 9 years straight now...

    Who cares, last I check there were no anti-muslim riots, so stopped this cnn and all the other news outlets it's pathetic.

    September 6, 2010 at 4:06 am |
  6. joe

    as i say happy labor day to all, i say happy holidy to muslims here and arround the world.islam can not b judged upon what the idiots did in 9/11. islam means peace. the holy quran says" if someone killed someone without a reason,it's like he/she killed the hole hummanity". islam is innocent from this allegation.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:58 am |

    In the US 7% events against Muslims where hate crimes and 65% events against jews where hate crimes. This is the statistic by the FBI. Hence, There are 10 hate crimes against jews for everyone against muslims. Based on that they are at this point far down on the list of hate crimes.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:56 am |
  8. Godell

    This sentence is untrue.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:49 am |
  9. Mike

    .Leave it to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR to play the victim card. Like the boy who cried "wolf!"

    Notice that the mosques which are cancelling celebrations on 9/11 (ON 9/11, not OF 9/11) are doing so only for public relations reasons, to burnish Islam's image.

    If they are really interested in burnishing Islam's image, they would openly renounce those parts of sharia law which call for religious bigotry, intolerance, hatred and violence toward non-Moslems. But, they have not shown any sign of doing that.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:27 am |
  10. Kay

    The building that is currently on the lot that they plan to build the mosque on has and is ALREADY being used as a place of worship for Muslims since before this whole media frenzy lit up.

    It is funny how the Tea Party uses the fact that so many people are ignorant and uninformed as a political ploy to rally a bunch of irrational supporters over a NON-ISSUE. Its even funnier to look at all the morons arrogantly waving their American flags in protest of a mosque as if Muslims are somehow "less American" than the ORCA (Overly Righteous Christians of America). Want to talk about insensitivity? Lets talk about the Muslim Americans who died along with everyone else in those towers and tell me that these Muslim civilians were responsible for their own deaths.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:26 am |
  11. gemini

    the saddest thing about all of this.....is most americans that have a problem with islam.....are christian....now here is my point if u r a christian why are u judging people for believing in the same thing u do but n a different way....it really is sad...this is one of the main reasons why i stoppd goin to church....bcause most of the people that do go are completely opposite of what they are supposed to believe in....it is very sad that muslims cannot celebrate a holiday on a certain day bcause a bunch of hypocritical christians think they shouldnt.....quit telln people what they can and cant do....u r not god so who gives u the right to act like u r and tell people if they are right or wrong...

    September 6, 2010 at 3:21 am |
  12. Sam

    Americans are suffering from the fear which can be justified for being misinformed of the facts. There is propaganda machine on the radio waves of America and "FAUXNEWS" the "hate network" spreading lies and deceit against Muslims of America. I have lived in United States for most my life (since 1972). I am a proud citizen of United States. This is my home and love my country. I hate extremists in all faiths. I believe in our constitution and bill of rights. No one religious group or any one race owns America or have any special privilege. All Americans have the same rights. We were all hurt as a nation and as a people on 9/11 by attacks on our nation. We all share grief for all the lives lost by the terrorists criminals. By claiming that they attacked us because of they believe in Islam does not make them the representative of Islamic religion. In fact anybody can make any claim but does not become a reality or true. There are a multiple interpretations of all faiths. That also applies to Christianity. There are some people who are twisted and interpret for the their own reasons as they wish and kill in the name of religion. They should be held accountable for their crimes and we should go after them with all our resources. But we cannot hold all the believers and faithful followers of the same religion responsible for the actions of few twisted minds. Our constitution protects the minority among us and grants the same rights with respect and dignity.

    September 6, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  13. Kay

    Those terrorists are so crafty eh?
    How dare they schedule a holiday that has been practiced for hundreds and hundreds of years on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001.

    Yea.. if you didn't get that.. it was sarcasm...

    September 6, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  14. Me

    Rosh Hashanah is that weekend too. So what's their point???

    September 6, 2010 at 3:00 am |
  15. Keith Alaska

    Here's an idea, tone things down because its the right thing to do, not because you fear how people will react. Dont plan a mosque 2 blocks from ground zero because its the right thing to do, not because you can. Around the world Muslims demand sensitivity but seem utterly unable to consider the senstivities of other people.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:59 am |
    • Kay

      What should MUSLIMS be "sensitive" about. They aren't responsible for 9/11 so why shouldn't they build a mosque wherever the hell they want?

      To NOT build a mosque in the location that they chose is admitting that THEY are GUILTY of something. They are not guilty, nor should they be punished for actions that they did not commit.

      September 6, 2010 at 3:14 am |
    • Kay

      P.S. The building that is currently on the lot that they plan to build the mosque on has and is already ALREADY being uses as a place of worship since before this whole media frenzy lit up.

      September 6, 2010 at 3:20 am |
    • Sam

      How is it, that you have the right to decide "what is the right thing to do?" What if I decide " what is the right thing to do?' for you or your religion. Are you really willing to give up your rights because what I feel?

      September 6, 2010 at 3:25 am |
  16. Call me intolerant

    Hmmm.... CAIR was implicated as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holyland terrorist financing case. Yeah, and I'm the intolerant one.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  17. lblt

    Muslim's have failed to police their own radical elements. Therefore they deserve the derision. It's much easier for them to cry foul than to root out the evil elements that infiltrate their religion. But until they do, the few will incriminate the rest.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:50 am |
    • Laurie

      Oh, really so should christians "police" their "own" too? There are now and have always been a potluck of methodologies under the umbrella term christianity. There have been many groups of psychopathic killers, killing in the name of one idea, cause, interpretation or the other. This still goes on today within christianity but it is not publicized nor is there a demand for christians to repeat apologies and disownments for the rest of eternity on every media outlet who will grant them a venue. Should we now say that all christians deserve whatever comes to them after the insane action of a few that jump under the umbrella of christianity?

      September 7, 2010 at 5:06 am |
  18. Dustin

    I see both sides of the debate here. Many people think it was only christian firefighters who died that day. There were innocents from many religions (including Islam) that perished because a few psychopathic Koran beaters decided they were going to ignite the flames of hate. I live near Dearborn Michigan and there is a huge islamic/middle eastern population there. I don't fear they are terrorists or anti-american. There were people who cheered that day and organized islam needs to deal with those among its ranks like most Christians would treat a pedophile preist. We all should do more to combat those who try to divide us. The muslim groups here are doing the American thing by respecting the sadness we all feel about 9/11. We all should demand more from the media which is just as guilty as Bin Laden for carving us up into voting blocks and categories.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  19. Alan

    The followers of Islam who say they are peaceful , are ignorant of Islam's history or in denial. Islam spread through the middle ages across Christian lands and converted them to Islam. Sept 11 , 1683 was the siege of Vienna where the alliance of Christian armies defeated the Islamic invaders.. I don't think it was co-incidence that the terrorists chose 9/11 as the date to attack the US.
    Learn history and understand the designs of Islamists. It is anything but peaceful. I've been watching the documentart 'Islam. What the West needs to know' on Netflix streaming, and its opening my eyes.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  20. Anthony

    i laugh at all of you that say muslims are evil they did this and that. just shut up seriously. i am a dual citizen English and American and an atheist. now it was 9 years ago get over it. i mean do you think that every time there was a bombing in England we stopped and had a moment of silence? postponing any kind of holiday is ludicrous. so everyone that is bashing step up and give your reasons and i guarantee that i can prove them all to be idiotic paranoia.

    September 6, 2010 at 2:37 am |
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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.