BURLINGTON – As the clock ticks toward `Eid Al-Adha, several mosques in Burlington County, New Jersey, have announced normal celebrations for the Islamic holiday, with police advising precautionary measures to prepare against threats to the community.
“We’ve always believed in peace and harmony,” Farooq Padder, president of the Al-Nasr Mosque in Willingboro, told Burlington County Times on Tuesday, September 6
Padder added that the community has never had any issues regarding September 11 anniversary.
Worried earlier that `Eid Al-Adha might coincide with the 15th anniversary of September 11 attacks, US Muslims were relieved after moon-sighting committee in Saudi announced `Eid will fall on September 12.
According to astronomical calculations, `Eid Al-Adha is expected to start on Sunday, September 11, to coincide with the 15th anniversary of 9/11 attacks.
The possibility of the holiday falling on Sept. 11 resurfaced memories of the backlash and the police surveillance directed at Muslims in the years after the attacks.
CAIR and other Muslim groups have repeatedly expressed concern about a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in the wake of attacks by extremists in San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, and elsewhere.
Though `Eid will fall on September 12, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness issued a bulletin to raise awareness of the holiday and alerted Muslim leaders and law enforcement.
Officials also said law enforcement agencies planned to meet with Muslim leaders statewide to prepare against threats to the community.
According to Padder, the mosque, which has a membership of about 375 families, usually offers outreach programs to promote interfaith relations,
Over the years, the mosque has invited members of all faiths to prayer services and held events to commemorate 9/11, including blood drives.
Nevertheless, he said the mosque is always on alert, and members keep an eye on any potential threats.
A board member at Masjid Shuhada in Springfield said the mosque’s leadership has not discussed any additional precautions for the holiday.
“We’re part of the community,” said the board member, who did not want to be identified.
Jim Sues, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said with today’s political rhetoric and atmosphere, caution is warranted.
Sues said his organization may send out notices to mosques statewide about precautionary measures, such as keeping local law enforcement groups informed about plans for the holiday, especially large gatherings.