Twin Ports Muslims move up Eid al-Fitr celebration
Muslims, neighbors and guests were gathering at Duluth's mosque Friday evening to celebrate Eid al-Fitr -- the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Some Muslim communities decided to scale back Eid activities because of the day's proximity this year...
Muslims, neighbors and guests were gathering at Duluth's mosque Friday evening to celebrate Eid al-Fitr -- the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Some Muslim communities decided to scale back Eid activities because of the day's proximity this year to the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md., chose to have only religious services this year, according to the online Christian Science Monitor. And the Islamic Center in Fresno, Calif., canceled pony rides, games and carnival attractions for children.
But the small Muslim community in the Twin Ports was going ahead with its plans, board member Nik Hassan told the News Tribune on Friday. "There's no change or anything like that," he said. "We're having the celebration tonight."
However, the timing of the event was affected, said Gibran Hashmi, a University of Minnesota Duluth student who is active in the Islamic Center of the Twin Ports.
It ordinarily would have taken place today, Hashmi said. "We usually have the celebration on the nearest Saturday because it's more convenient," he said. "But we didn't want to have it on the anniversary of this tragic day when so many people were killed, including many Muslims."
Neighbors of the Islamic Center of the Twin Ports had been invited, along with members of the Unitarian/Universalist Church, which previously owned the building in the Woodland neighborhood.
Eid al-Fitr, one of two major holidays in Islam, marks the end of a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting with a time of feasting and celebration. Fasting is prohibited during the first three days of the new month of Shawwal, Hashmi said. "It's a time of joy, of merrymaking and festivities."
Because Muslims follow the lunar calendar, the holiday occurs at a different time each year in the Western calendar. That's why the proximity to Sept. 11 hadn't occurred since the 2001 attacks.
Ramadan ended at dusk on Thursday, which was also a day of fasting on the UMD campus in which many non-Muslim students and staff participated, Hashmi said.
Two hundred thirty people registered for the fast, and about 170 came for a dinner to break the fast in the evening, Hashmi said. The event was a fundraiser to help flood victims in Pakistan. Final figures weren't in, but the event raised about $2,000, he said.