Eid Ul Fitr and Muslims in the U.S.

Eid Ul Fitr celebrates the end of the fast of Ramadan. Huffington Post writes:

Eid ul-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, is a three-day Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). Eid ul-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. Traditionally, the festival begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky. The first Eid was celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad with his friends and relatives after the victory of the battle of Jang-e-Badar.

During the festival of Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims celebrate the end of fasting, and thank Allah for the help and strength given to them throughout the previous month. Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and putting up lights and other decorations in their homes.

To mark the beginning of Eid, Muslims go to their local mosque to perform special congregational prayers known as Salaat and many will also give special charitable contributions, known as Zakat al-Fitr. Common greeting during this holiday is the Arabic greeting “Eid Mubarak” (“Have a blessed Eid”).

In 2011, Eid ul-Fitr will be observed on Tuesday, the 30th of August in the United States and observant Muslims will start their celebrations after sunset on the 29th.

NPR on the latest Pew Research Center report:

… the study found that 82 percent of the 1,033 Muslim Americans who were surveyed said they are “satisfied … with the way things are going” in their lives. Pew calls that an overwhelmingly optimistic response — and notes that it’s higher than the 75 percent reading in its most recent survey of the general public.

And it adds that “there also is no evidence of rising support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans.”

Religion Clause on the same study:

The report finds that 63% of Muslim Americans are first-generation immigrants, and estimates the total Muslim population in the U.S. to be 2.75 million.

For one Muslim family faith and grief are complicated on the coming anniversary of 9/11:

The Windows on the World banquet server was a degreed physicist in his native Bangladesh and a U.S. citizen who aspired to do so much more in his adopted country. He kept a pager at hand that fateful morning, just in case his wife went into labor.

“I can’t imagine not having any memories,” said his firstborn, Fahina, unable to hold back her sobs. “Someday, Farqad’s going to search online and see everything. I have to help him understand.”

This teen’s uber-sense of responsibility extends beyond what she believes she owes her brother. As a young woman whose father was killed by men who dared to say they shared her Islamic faith, Fahina feels an obligation to speak up, to be the face of her often-misunderstood religion — even if she’d prefer not to be known for what she lost and how she lost it.

“For a Muslim person to go through this, it’s something no one can understand,” she said, the tears still falling. “Extremists used the religion as an excuse to do terrible things. It’s so much easier to be mad at people than to get to know them.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury sends his greetings:

see below

To Muslim friends and fellow workers on the occasion of ‘Id Al-Fitr 2011

It is a great pleasure to send once again my warm greetings to Muslim colleagues and communities on the occasion of ‘Id Al-Fitr and to wish you peace and joy.

Over the last few weeks of prayer, fasting and reflection it must have been very difficult to watch the growing unrest and rioting in many of the major cities in the United Kingdom. The tragic deaths of Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Muzavir in Birmingham occurred at the darkest moment of those days. Their families and friends suffered horrific bereavement and shock, but somehow in the midst of this chaos, they brought about a change. On the day after their murder, Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the boys who died, showed immense dignity in calling for restraint in his local community. His call for peace and unity was one of the decisive moments during those days and was a gift in Ramadan that gave hope to many not just in Birmingham but all over the United Kingdom and beyond. He was able to give voice to the conscience of Britain in a way that people of all faiths and none could recognize.

The Prophet Jeremiah in the Bible called God’s people to pray for the peace and well being of the city in which they lived. Those words are a reminder to us that our own peace and security are bound up with the peace and security of our neighbours and that God is concerned for the peace of all. Earlier this year, in May, I had the privilege of hosting a 4 day conference in the Middle East on prayer with 30 Christian and Muslim scholars. We learned with and from each other about what it means to act in a world of often frightening conflict on the basis of an attitude of prayer and confidence in God’s will for peace and justice.

May I wish you a joyful celebration of ‘Id Al-Fitr and assure you of my prayers, as I am confident of yours, for a peaceful year ahead.

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