Eid al-Fitr, or simply Eid, is a three-day Islamic holiday following the fasting month of Ramadan, in which we abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset.
Muslims typically gather for a communal prayer at a local mosque or park, pay visits to family and friends, and give children presents on Eid al-Fitr, but this year’s security risk worries some families, mine included. My place of worship is meant to be a sanctuary, not a danger zone, so naturally the anti-Muslim attacks over the past month hit close to home.
We shouldn’t be afraid of making it out alive from the local Islamic center on this holy celebration, but we are. Should we be looking over our shoulder as we participate in salaat al-Eid, the Eid congregational prayer? Is someone going to hurl a bomb at us while we recite takbir, the declaration of faith? Should we wear helmets just in case?
On Sunday, vandals shot paintballs at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City, and on Monday a bottle of acid was thrown at an Islamic school in a Chicago suburb, and earlier this month a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was completely burned down. Within the span of this week, two women threw pig parts on a California mosque, and a man shot a high velocity air rifle at a Morton Grove, Illinois mosque.
Despite fears of an attack on Eid al-Fitr, some Islamic centers like the Islamic Circle of North America, a nationwide religious organization based in Jamaica, N.Y., refuse to issue safety warnings because it can scare the Muslim community.
However, the civil liberty organization Council on American-Islamic Relations decided to release a warning this week, advising additional security for American mosques.
Since the tragic Sikh temple shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin that left six worshipers and the gunman dead, some mosques are planning extra precautions for Eid al-Fitr festivities, including creating safety committees, organizing emergency evacuation plans, and asking for extra police patrols. Even though Muslims and Sikhs follow different religions, both groups are targets for hate crimes.
In a time when people are targeted for simply being Muslim, proudly praciticing your faith should be nothing to be ashamed of. In spite of the danger, I hope Muslims across America enjoy a blessed Eid al-Fitr.