Tri-state Muslims fear celebrating holiday on 9-11 - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Tri-state Muslims fear celebrating holiday on 9-11

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19)  - Muslims throughout the Tri-state are rethinking how to celebrate a Muslim holiday that's scheduled to fall near the anniversary of 9-11.

For the first time, Eid al-Fitr will begin one day before the anniversary of September 11. It's a calendar coincidence that has put many local Muslims on edge.

On the last day of Ramadan, families come to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester to pray five times a day. ICGC trustee Shakila Ahmad says the holy month includes fasting from sun up to sun down, reading the Qu'aran, and serving the less fortunate.

The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al Fitr. It's celebrated through giving gifts, dinners, and even parties. It's set by the lunar calendar.

"It's always in the fall, but in Islam, it actually moves 10-11 days earlier every year," said Ahmad. "So it just so happens the month began August 11 and it's ending September 9 so the holiday is September 10."

But Eid often lasts for days. That means that this year, for the first time, Muslims could celebrate Eid on the anniversary of September 11. It's a coincidence that many Muslims all over the world fear could be misunderstood.

"There has been some concern because people's emotions are high and there information is severely lacking," said Ahmad.

So this year, local Muslims are greatly scaling back celebrations. Ahmad said the ICGC's celebrations will not include comedians or elaborate parties, instead focusing on prayer, fellowship and community service. The center is organizing several service events for Saturday. People of all faiths are invited to participate.

ICGC leaders are also increasing security this year. For the first time many years, the ICGC is working with the West Chester police department to make sure everyone stays safe this holy holiday.

Still, some critics say it's unfair that Muslims have to hold back on their celebrations. Ahmad said that many here are happy to do it.

"There were victims in the Twin Towers that were Muslims," Ahmad said. "This is our country. This is our home. So we have the same feelings. The religious holiday is falling where it is, but for us, it's very naturally for us to be respective of both."

 

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