WASHINGTON – Worrying 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 on Thursday night that `Eid will fall on September 12.
“At least it doesn’t give an excuse for the Islam haters to falsely claim that Muslims were celebrating on 9/11,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on Islamic Relations, told Reuters.
“That was the concern.”
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 has 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.
“The safety concerns are almost daily issues now,” Hooper said, noting the recent killing of a New York imam and the stabbing of a Muslim woman in the city on Wednesday night.
After Thursday’s moon sighting, Saudi Arabian religious authorities announced that the holiday would take place on Sept. 12.
`Eid Al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice”, is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
After special prayers to mark the day, Muslims offer unhiyah, a ritual that reminds of the great act of sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`eel were willing to make for the sake of God.
Festivities and merriment then start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.
Traditionally, everyone wears new clothes for `Eid, and the children look forward to gifts and the traditional `ediya (cash).
`Eid Al-Adha marks the end of annual hajj.
One of the five pillars of Islam, hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim — who can financially afford the trip — must perform hajj once in their lifetime.