Around the United States, some masjids opened their doors to welcome Muslims for `Eid Al-Adha.
However, as the coronavirus is still surging in several American cities, many of the faithful chose to spend another `Eid in quarantine. Vina McDermott was one of them, but she wasn’t alone.
McDermott, who lives in Connecticut, was one of several people who joined a virtual `Eid Al-Adha party hosted by Embrace, a revert group affiliated with the Islamic Circle of North America.
The event, which drew Muslims from different states, featured trivia games for children and adults with questions focusing on Islam.
There was also an opportunity for arts and crafts and a showing of “Muhammad: The Last Prophet,” a 2002 animated film.
Organizers touted the event on social media, saying no one should be alone on `Eid, regardless of the current pandemic, their ability to get to the mosque or their status as a convert.
Kenneth Misurella is the national secretary of Embrace. He was one of the party’s hosts and welcomed participants to the virtual event.
“In many parts of the county we are still forced to be stuck in our homes and we can’t have physical programs,” he told AboutIslam.
“But we decided, even with these obstacles, we wanted to have a national, virtual program so that everyone, regardless of where they are from, can participate.”
No One is Lonely This `Eid
McDermott called Embrace and her participation in the group “a blessing.”
She said she is particularly grateful for the organization, which is three years old, as it’s provided her a space to meet other Muslims and converts.
“I’m not feeling my typical loneliness (this `Eid),” said McDermott, who has been a Muslim for 14 years.
“Even though the masjids here had the `Eid salat, I’m still practicing social distancing and not going into large groups, so Embrace has been a lifesaver for me because I haven’t made a connection with any local mosque or a group of reverts. I’m trying, but I don’t know where they are.”
Ruby Sader, a resident of Staten Island, New York, who took her Shahada on July 4, said, as a very new Muslim, being around others who share her faith is important.
“Not being around practicing people, not being around Muslims, it makes me feel empty, so if it wasn’t for Embrace it would be really hard for me right now,” she said.
Filling a Gap
She said she’s eager to be around other new Muslims as soon as she can, but until then her participation in Embrace is filling in the gap.
“It keeps me connected and it gives me strength,” Sader said.
Wini Griffin and her three children also made it to the `Eid party. Though she said her journey to Islam has been long, Griffin, a resident of Austin, Texas, only recently became a Muslim near the beginning of the year, right before much of the US entered into lockdown.
Nevertheless, she put her time in quarantine to good use, attending weekly halaqas to learn about her new faith, reading the entirety of the Quran, familiarizing herself with hadiths, and instilling Islamic values in her children, Lizzie, Wes and Mari.
“Being in quarantine has allowed me to transition easier and learn a lot,” she said. “I work from home, and everything fell into place and it’s been beautiful.”
For more information about Embrace, log on to www.embracereverts.org.