How do Americans and non-Muslims view Eidul Azha?

Published: September 15, 2016
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Muslim men attend Eid prayers to mark the end of Ramadan in the Queens borough of New York, USA. PHOTO: REUTERS

This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th.

Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said,

“Our community is like, ‘What are we supposed to do?’ I should not have to think about that. What am I supposed to tell my kids?”

Her statement comes in context of a recent murder, in the New York borough of Queens, of an imam and his assistant, though the investigation has not determined whether this is a hate crime or related to a dispute between the Hispanic community and the mosque.

Nevertheless, just as the actions of terrorists committing acts in the name of Islam do not represent Muslims, the acts of anti-Muslim bigots do not represent non-Muslims, though we must remain vigilant against both elements.

Fortunately, due to the sighting of the moon, this year’s Eid began on September 12th  in the US. And so this year’s Eidul Azha passed without additional controversy.

But how do Americans and non-Muslims view Eidul Azha?

Very few would know that there are two Eids, the other being Eidul Fitr, or that Eidul Azha commemorates how Abraham (or Ibrahim) offered his son Ishmael as sacrifice, and the divine intervention saved him from carrying out the act – even though many Jews and Christians are familiar with this parable. Outside the Muslim community, the holiday does not merit much attention.

To find out more, I talked to Muslims that I know personally in our community in the Pacific Northwest as to how they approach the holiday, including those from Somalia, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Without exception they claimed to celebrate this year’s Eid quietly with family and friends, exchanging gifts, with prayers at the mosque, and if the holiday falls on a school day they might take their children out of class. But none feared any repercussions from society at large. If there were to be any controversy on a broader scale, it would have come from the animal rights activists who oppose the sacrifice of animals (a minor concern).

As Muslims adapt and integrate more with the west, the west will have a reciprocal understanding, and society will progress, a good development. Thus we should take words by Dean Obeidallah into account, who recently wrote at the Daily Beast,

“I’ve never been more optimistic about our future in America…. I’m sure the years ahead will be challenging ones for the Muslim American community. But the anti-Muslim hate we see now will fade—our nation’s history tells us so. Jews and Catholics before us endured similar barbs, slurs, and fears, and in time overcame them. Deep in my heart, I am certain that we, too, will overcome.”

What he said.

Caleb Powell

Caleb Powell

The writer is a Polish/Persian American and worked overseas for eight years, in East Asia, the Middle East, and South America. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family. He Tweets @sonofmizrahi (twitter.com/sonofmizrahi?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • rationalist

    Each Eid I pray and mourn for the millions of defenseless poor animals that would be barbarically butchered to please god with the streets in Muslim countries turning to rivers of blood. What a primitive and horrible belief!Recommend

  • Parvez

    From what little I have seen and know about America and its people I can say that in general the majority are open hearted, kind and welcoming towards others…….the question that needs to be asked is ‘ …are the Muslims willing to reciprocated and change in order to assimilate with the majority ? ‘……I feel the jury is still out on this.Recommend

  • vinsin

    The festival is against secularism and animal rights and it is not a minor thing. It is in opposition to that. Festivals like these promote and celebrate violence and death. Why dont Muslims sacrifice their own Children like Abraham?

    Terrorists killing and in the name if Islam do not represent Muslim, but people those who celebrate sacrifice/death/blood of animals are Muslims. Recommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    Why dont you mourn for the billions of animals killed to satisfy the hunger all year around?
    Why dont you mourn for the billions of animals killed so that you can use leather products?Recommend

  • Xahid

    They’re food, they serve their purpose, thats what the whole world do for food every day, Muslims do it as festival in a year. your point is invalid.Recommend

  • Realist

    Is chicken not animal enough to be mourned for? You eat chicken nuggets, burgers, sausage, and a to z chicken dishes all year round, kill other animals to get leather products, why don’t you open your mouth for those animals? Because you are a hypocriteRecommend

  • Alter Ego

    Ever heard of

    KFC
    McDonald
    Burger King
    Expensive Snake Shoes
    Many Others?

    Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Dont ypou kill people who eat cows?
    Are you saying cow meat is more valuable than human life?Recommend

  • HZR

    Does not affect me .Go vegetarian..good for the animal,health and climate…Recommend

  • genesys

    Ask ISIS and their Caliph…Recommend

  • rationalist

    Yes, I have heard of them. I believe killing and eating animals is equally barbaric. Recommend

  • rationalist

    I am a vegan.Recommend

  • rationalist

    I don’t wear or use leather products. Only man-made synthetics or plant based.Recommend

  • rationalist

    ” Muslims do it as festival in a year. your point is invalid.”

    That is the point! Don’t you see the ignorance and lack of human consciousness in this primitive belief of cruel “festival” where animals are cruelly killed? What is so “invalid’ in calling out the ignorance of this primitive in-human practice and belief?Recommend

  • Sane

    Sacrificing animals (Goat, Cow, Bull, Camel etc.) on Eid ul Azha is part of Muslim religion, not to be compromised.Recommend

  • Sane

    Oh! Mr. Great Humanist…. first stop slaughtering Muslims in India. Then you qualify to talk about humanity. You Indians are epicenter of violence and terrorism. You are the country having prime minister rated among top criminals of the world.Recommend

  • Milind A

    Yes, atleast the cow will distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims and kill the laterRecommend

  • Milind A

    Sorry.. non-Muslims do not slaughter animals in front of 3-yr olds , with all that blood and gore, making them insensitive to pain. Its only Muslims who make a spectacle and ‘celebration’ of this barbaric Arab customRecommend

  • sher khan

    Yes people like Ehasan Jafri get slaughtered in India and they don’t roll a eye because Muslim get slaughtered and that is acceptable.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    We don’t believe in any point apart from what Allah has commanded us. No logic ,no point What Allah says that s the logic and that is the best logic because he created us and he knows what is best for every one including Animals We don’t waste our time researching logic and asking question.

    And secondly if sacrificed correctly and according to saying of Allah the animals will not even feel the pain. that’s the point i want to convey for your information. so their is no pain and thus no cruelty. We Muslims can only eat meat of that animal which is sacrificed correctlyRecommend

  • Xahid

    Yea, what so wrong about it? They’re food, they’re not cruelly killed, they’re killed with generosity, love and affection. if you’re vegetation. then you’re on the wrong forum.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Why?
    Please give logical answers instead of what you want the world to be like?
    As long as animals are not extinct killing them is no offence.
    Animals kill and eat other animals.
    Lions eat cows and antelopes.
    Fish eat mosquitoes?
    Monkeys eat small mammals.
    Larger insects eat smaller ones.
    So why does the sacrifice of goats affects you so?
    Nxt you will try to feed grass to a lion?Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    No ,the young generation only plays play station games that promote violence and killing of humans not animals , mind you.

    As for desensitizing the young to pain and blood, it is no issue.
    The goats and animals feel no pain as their nerves are cut off.

    Next you will stop children from watching National Geographic as the animals kill and eat other animals , no?

    Next you will stop children from watching Disney movies as almost in all of them an evil villain is killed.

    So what are you talking about?Recommend

  • siesmann

    Surprised at the comments on the article. Where did the author mention animals or sacrifice of them in the article?Recommend

  • siesmann

    Exactly.Recommend

  • Xahid

    You need to update your low level of knowledge with the help of youtube, there are plenty of Video clips shows your ignorance, not only they kill the Animals in front of kids but also slaughtering method is very cruel.Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    If Muslims were being slaughtered in India regularly their population wouldnt have grown to be one of the largest in the world, so please make relevant statements, secondly like the chinese we dont put restrictions on our muslims as well.
    Now back to the topic, sacrificing animals in the name of Religion is wrong, the whole concept of Idul Azha is testing of ones faith with readiness to sacrifice the most loved & priced thing to Almighty, then can you say & convince that an innocent animal purchased from a shop with the sole intention to be slaughtered can be termed as most beloved & priced possession in your life.Recommend

  • Xahid
  • ارشد حسین

    Then why you kill insects, snakes, crocodiles or Beers, when you know they can invade homes.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    It came to human knowledge by your scientist (and we believe it too) that plants also respirators and are living being. What do you eat bro?????Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Plants are living being too… Now what????Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Plants are living things too… why do they suffer???Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Barbaric Arab Custom???? What about you done to Muslim while migrating, Sikhs while they protest and now in Kashmire… ???Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Why are becoming champion of Human Consciousness over Millions of People including yours too.???Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Animal rights???? Only animals can raise voice (if betrayed….)Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Ha ha ha.. .That’s the true mess of yours and what we do is true spirit of ours.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    ISIS has nothing to do with Muslim.. But has a lot of relations with their West Guardians…..Recommend

  • Sane

    ISIS and their so-called caliphs are supported by all anti Muslim forces including India.Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    What nonsense, even plants have a life, that is taken when these alleged vegetarians eat. I don’t see vegetarians eating lifeless dirt. Jews, Christians and Muslims, the majority of the civilized world are meat eaters. Peace loving Buddhists and Hindus are the most violent, consider the case of Cambodia and its violence, or Japan in WW2.Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    That explains why you think the way that you do.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Please stop.

    The only person who killed enough people to change an area’s climate was Changez Khan and of couese Americans.
    It doesnt matter if you kill them or not.
    You keep them backward.
    Even now you are trying to impose restrictions on Zakir Naik.
    Even if you killed one Muslim per day it would make no difference in the overall population.

    Now on other topic.
    Killing animals for sacrifice is more humane than killing them for shoes,food or their hides.
    As for your question about love,animals cost money.And humans by virtue of their nature love money.We are not really sacrificing an animal we are sacrificing our money to please our God.

    The same way you allow monkeys to roam free and attack humans and steal babies.Recommend

  • PatelPara

    Rationalists are mostly ignorant.Recommend

  • PatelPara

    still better than Kashmiris & Palestinians.Recommend

  • vinsin

    So why they are not moving to Pakistan? Why Muslims cannot be Slaughtered? Arent India already got partitioned?
    File a case against Indian PM and prove it – that is not what you will do right?Recommend

  • vinsin

    So why they punished those who involved? Have you punished people responsible for Bangladesh Genocide?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Then why they dont they move to Pakistan to become forward? Then sacrifice money.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Vegetarians dont eat plants they eat leaves. Muslims do not come under civilized world. Hindu and Buddhists are not vegetarians. Cambodians and Japanese are not vegetarian.Recommend

  • vinsin

    So why they call themselves Muslims? And why they are attacking West?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Prove it. Why Muslims are joining it then?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Eat leaves then. Plants dont have central nervous system.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Eat leaves, dont eat roots.Recommend

  • Romi

    So since plants are also alive and goats are also alive, you feel killing camels, goats, lambs, buffaloes, cows, gazelles, Nilgai become acceptable? They are on the same level? Mosquito versus goat?

    So if someone just killed a mosquito he can come and kill you also, because if no one does anything because he killed a mosquito, then obviously, by your logic, killing a human being (you) is fine too??

    So why don’t you kill a mosquito and not a goat on Id?Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Don’t be Aristotle. Issue is that you Vegan people don’t eat meat because they are living thing. So are the plants. What is the Rocket Science in it?Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    For the information of Genius only that Roots are the part/organ of a living thing called plants.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Whether plants have nervous system or not. They are living thing and has senses.Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    If i call myself your father. Will you accept that?Recommend

  • ارشد حسین

    Yes i know and always know that vegan don’t have brain. Because brain is also meat. So the answer about plant is as “Living Thing” was for those fools who don’t like to eat meat because that are from “Living Thing”. You Aristotle!Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    Leaves are not plants? Hypocritical nonsenseRecommend