Last year, in a post on Eid Al-Fitr, I wrote:
This year it seems to me even more imperative to be aware of and spread the true meaning of Eid Al-Fitr. Obviously this imperative relates to the concern that the 3 day celebration Sept 10-12 may lead people to either misunderstand or to be misled into believing that Muslims are celebrating the act of terror that occurred on 9/11/2001.As most readers here know, Eid Al-Fitr is a holiday of thanksgiving to Allah after the month of spiritual renewal of Ramadan. It begins at the first sighting of the new moon, which announces the end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the 10th month of the Muslim lunar calendar, Shawwal.
During the 3 days of Eid Al-Fitr, the smaller of the 2 Eids-- with Eid Al-Adha also being called Eid Al-Kebir which occurs on 10 Dhu Al-Hijjah (the 12th month)--festivities are marked by feasting, visiting family and friends, and prayer. This calls for new clothes, special foods, and special entertainments."
Indeed, with rising Islamophobia in the USA there is more risk of misappropriating Eid celebrations to argue that Muslims are happy about the terrorism. In fact, most have been more negatively affected than the average American by this action of a very few, highly politicized Muslims in extremist religious guise. The War on Terror has killed and continues to kill Muslim civilians in very high numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The vast majority of Muslims are as much against violence and terrorism as anyone else. They are subject to increased scrutiny and negativity in the West, and also to measures against terrorism in majority Muslim countries.
Most majority Muslim countries have had to deal with negative political acts by violent extremists even prior to 9/11. Most often these acts are motivated by political, ethnic, and tribal concerns rather than religious ones only. This is very true of the Taliban who have done so much harm in the name of Islam and to Islam. The Taliban were first a specific Afghani tribe who wanted power throughout the country, not just in their tribal territories. It is also true of Al-Qaeda, which has more of the structure of an international organized crime ring than a national movement. Yet the response to Al-Qaeda has been to attack countries where they were, or were thought to have been.
Thus the USA is fighting in 2 national war zones, and more sotto voce in a third. As the Afghanistan War was supported by the UN, a number of allied countries are also present. The Iraq War had less of a following, but still has an international component. In short, a number of nations are battling each other over an international organized crime ring with an ethno-political origin and agenda. There is no doubt that Islam is prominent in their discourse, and that the agenda is to impose their version of Islam elsewhere, but this is a political agenda primarily. A religious agenda only would not necessitate worldly power in the same way.
There has been lamentation this year that the 9/11 commemoration has been so highly politicized by the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Pastor Jones, and the opponents of Park51. President Obama mentioned it in his speech at the Pentagon; Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, a bi-partisan First Ladies team, both spoke at the crash site of Flight 93 pre-empted in its trajectory towards Capitol Hill; and Vice President Biden, speaking at Ground Zero, focused on rebuilding.
article and slide show.
Yet none have, in my opinion, sufficiently emphasized how political Al Qaeda's action was; that the targets were political ones--the economic, political, and military centres of the USA. Whatever perversion of Islam was invoked, whatever statements the US makes about its values being attacked, the 9/11 terrorist act was first and foremost a political one by an organized group of opponents to USA involvement overseas, and particularly in the Gulf, MENA, and Palestine.
Failing to recognize this sufficiently, and failing to emphasize it enough, has led to an opening within the USA for uninformed discourse about Islam and unfair portrayals of American Muslims. From my perspective, this failure has resulted in inappropriate branding of, and recriminations against, anyone who dared to suggest that American foreign policy may have in any way been a factor in the attacks. Finally, it has contributed to a response, and an approach to the "War on Terror" that is ill-informed by misappropriated World War II notions of Pearl Harbour, one nation attacking another, and an "Axis of Evil", all of which still underlie the national response to what is in fact more akin to an organized crime network of political activists in Al Qaeda; and an ethnocentric tribal bid for national dominance in the Taliban.
So the ignorance is dual: insufficient understanding of Islam and the meaning of its holidays; and, insufficient acknowledgment of "the enemy" as political movements using asymmetrical warfare, and at least in part responding to US foreign policy. More knowledge and insight would be wise. In the meantime, interfaith understanding is much appreciated.
Day 27: The Muslims in Memphis (Part 1)
9/11-9 Years On
Eid Al-Fitr 2010: Worldwide Celebrations
Eid Al-Fitr: Celebrations Across the World
Eid Al-Fitr and Thanks Giving: Do You Believe in Miracles?
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims From Coast to Coast Part I
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims From Coast to Coast Part II
Aman's and Bassam's Ramadan Road Trip: 30 Mosques, 30 States, 30 Days--American Muslims From Coast to Coast Part III
See also, the excellent:
Could Muslims dare to celebrate on September 11 any day soon? by Jaraad at Jaraad
Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?