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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Middle East & North Africa / The Eid-Mobile
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    The Eid-Mobile

    Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:33 pm
    Forum Host
    When it comes to holidays and feasting, the majority of minds will think of the engorging festivals of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Very few would think of the Islamic feast of Eid-Al-Fitr. A group of young Muslims in Houston is trying to change that.

    To celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr, the festival held at the conclusion of the Muslim month of fasting known as Ramadan, and educate the general public about the holiday, two young Muslim groups are launching an initiative called “Eid Mobile.”

    “Individuals from Rad Talks and Crescent Youth are encouraging the Muslim community to use glass chalk to paint ‘Happy Eid’ on their car windows during Eid,” said Hasan Gilani, who founded Rad Talks two years ago and is working with an internationally known Houston-based group known as Crescent Youth.

    “The hope is that people will become aware of the celebration and their curiosity will lead them to visit a website we created about the Eid celebration that we will also have written on our cars,” he said.

    This creative project is part of a wider mainstreaming of Eid as a hallmark Islamic, and American, holiday recognized more and more by people outside of Islam.

    Eid-Al-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, is a festive Muslim holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). Literally, it refers to the “festivity of breaking the fast.” It commemorates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. Eid begins the evening of August 18 and continues until sunset on Sunday August 19. This Eid is not to be confused with Eid-Al-Adha, which occurs at the end of the pilgrimage (hajj).

    “On Eid, the Muslim community gathers to reaffirm their monotheistic belief through a special prayer,” said Gilani, “but the feasting and fasting are important parts of our celebration.”

    This, he said, unites this celebration with other familiar faith traditions of fasting and feasting from Christian, Jewish and other religious sources.

    He said, “Eid shows that Muslims are not aliens, it can be a great unifying force that brings various faiths together under the banner of camaraderie and cooperation.”

    Since President Bill Clinton and his wife, current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hosted the first Eid feast at the White House in 1996, Eid has garnered national attention and a fair degree of familiarity in the United States of America.

    “Eid-Al-Fitr is the most approachable Muslim holiday,” said Hasan Asma. Asma added that of all the Muslim holidays it has the most chance of becoming a nationally recognized holiday, if not a federal public holiday.

    “Many Muslim Americans would consider the adoption of Eid as a national holiday as an efficient way of gaining ‘symbolic recognition’ of Islam in American society,” he said.

    Gilani said that growing up in the United States he would often see commercials tied into other religious holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, but never Islamic holidays like Eid.

    “There are millions of American Muslims, but we were overlooked,” he said, “now that’s starting to change.”

    Now, businesses such as IKEA and Best Buy are mentioning Muslim holidays in their advertisements and an increasing number of public officials, including Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker, and religious leaders from other faiths are issuing Eid statements, hosting Eid events and sending greetings of “Eid Mubarak!” when the festival comes along each year.

    “We want to help this trend by sharing Eid with Houston to show everyone that there are lots of Muslims here and the vast majority of us are not dangerous.”

    He said that if individuals took time to understand and appreciate Eid, and its celebration of faith and compassion, there would be more understanding of Islam in general.

    All week long, Gilani and his young Muslim friends will proudly display Eid decorations on their cars (making them “Eid-mobiles”) in hopes that passers-by might take the time to learn more about the progressively popular, and potentially peace promoting, Islamic feast of Eid. In the process, they hope more people will come to appreciate Islam as part of the fabric of the United States.

    Gilani said, “projects like ‘Eid Mobile,’ using humor and popular media, help convey the truth about Muslims as positive, contributing members of American society.”

    Courtesy of Ken Chitwood, Houston Chronicle

    Eid al-Fitr begins in the evening of Saturday, August 18, 2012, and ends in the evening of Sunday, August 19, 2012.
    Dates may vary, depending upon where you're located on the globe.
    Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:56 pm
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