Guilt factor: Eid on September 11

American Muslims are debating whether or not to celebrate Eid if it is to fall on September 11. Why are they so defensive? They have done nothing wrong.

Tehreem Mahmood August 17, 2010
A new debate has emerged among American Muslims. Can they actually celebrate Eid on September 11 this year? According to the moon forecast, there is a high probability that the Muslim religious event of Eid will fall on the day which changed the world.

My mother is currently visiting her brother in the US. Her aunt is an active member of the nearby mosque committee. During the frequent visits to the mosque, my mother received a leaflet saying that the Muslims of that particular community will celebrate Eid this year either on September 10 or on September 12. My mother was a little shocked because of two reasons. Firstly, its quite understandable that we can not relate to the September 11 tragedy like Americans can. Secondly, Eid is not a small event in the Islamic calendar. People don’t avoid Eid even if  falls on the death anniversary of their parents.

This prompted me to search the internet, just to find out what American Muslims are thinking, and there it was: American Muslims being defensive.

There were a number of people who thought it was a ridiculous idea and the question had been turned in to a serious issue by Muslims themselves who would think of not celebrating Eid on a particular day.

A comment read:
“Hey, we don’t select particular days for religious events, blame the moon then? :P”

And there were also a few comments made by Muslims which bordered on hate speech.

My relatives have been living in the USA for decades now, and they didn’t report any problems from local non-Muslim American citizens. But what they are used to is no holiday on Eid. This year though, luckily, September 11 will fall on a Saturday.  It made me pity those living in America. The Muslim population makes up  large part of the labour force, and yet they are denied a holiday to celebrate a religious event. But this is another country's internal issue , so I won’t debate on it.

But why are these Muslims being so defensive?

Can American Muslims not live freely in their own country? Is it possible that non-Muslims do not really accept Muslims as Americans?  Are there some unseen pressures that give American Muslims a feeling of guilt towards something that a person has not done (but a supposedly people from his/her religion has done)?

These are but just a few questions. The fact is that the freedom to spread hate material against Muslims over the internet is rapidly increasing. The anger which should have been against a particular number of people with a particular thought system was unfortunately directed towards all Muslims. A lot of people have different theories about how the September 11 tragedy occurred.  Osama bin Laden reminds me of Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984; a character that is there all the time but does not actually exist. Since then, things have grown worse especially in Pakistan. Even peaceful people have become a victim of others' fury. And now, we are reminded of the 9/11 tragedy on a day of celebration, and the guilt factor somehow deepens in Muslim hearts.

Eid is a religious event that is decided entirely by sighting of the moon. It is totally up to American Muslims when they want to celebrate Eid - a holiday which has been celebrated every year in Afghanistan since the War on terror took over the country and in Pakistan, no matter what the conditions are.

But  Eid should be a time of happiness.
Tehreem Mahmood A junior copywriter for an advertising agency in Karachi. Tehreem also freelances for South Asia Magazine.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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