With 9/11 in mind, American Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr
Some religious leaders scaled back celebrations for fear of inflaming public sentiment on the eve of 9/11. Still, families gathered to note one of the most important dates on the Islamic calendar.
M. Spencer Green/AP
New Haven, Conn. and New York
In some parts of the country, religious leaders had announced plans to scale back holiday celebrations for fear of inflaming public sentiment on the eve of September 11. But here, a joyous crowd gathered to mark the end of fasting.
The prayer service signaled the beginning of Eid al-Fatir, one of the most important dates on the Islamic calendar. This year, Eid, which follows the lunar calendar, began on September 10. Though many American Muslims celebrate the holiday for only one day, the holiday lasts for three, awkwardly straddling the September 11 anniversary in a year of heightened political rancor.
After special Eid prayers in the morning, many Muslims spend the rest of the day with family and friends, with a special focus on eating delicious food after a month of fasting from dawn to dusk. As this year’s Eid fell on a Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, many returned to a mosque in the early afternoon for services before resuming the celebration.
The mood at the service was buoyant, if contemplative. Laughing young girls swathed in a riot of red and blue and yellow outfits sprinted along the track’s racing oval while boys trailed their hands through the long jump sand. Men and women, separated by hurdles, bowed and chanted in unison, and listened to a sermon stressing the need for peace and self-reflection.