Embracing Muslims At Eid

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(Nyla and Maryam Azam singing the National Anthem)

The Eid celebration in City Hall this week was a unique opportunity for Muslims in the NY area to celebrate with government officials.

This type of celebration opens the door for Muslims to meet government officials while sharing a joyous occasion such as Eid. Despite some of the negative repercussion of 911 to relationship with other communities, Muslims here are still making their voices heard from all angles. At the celebration, Councilmember John Lui embraced Muslims, welcomed them, and utilized the Eid celebration to mark it as an important evening for Muslims to feel comfortable at City Hall.

Space was allocated in one of the nearby conference rooms for Muslims to make the Maghrib evening prayer, prior to the start of the event. After everyone settled in, the ceremony launched off with a beautiful Quranic recitation of by Ismail Sayeed. He recited a verse in the Quran that was then translated by Ahlam Hassan that spoke of the importance of fasting during the month of Ramadan. He then related the verse to the moral aspects of Ramadan, calling the month’s observations a “spiritual boot camp�. “The month of Ramadan is the time wherein if you observe it well Allah answers all of your prayers and all of the things that you ask for in due time,� he said. Now we could “eat, eat, eat,� he joked, in closing.

Young people were given the opportunity to express themselves and their outlook of being a Muslim in NewYork City. Romena Ashique a twelfth grader, expressed her appreciation for the way her parents raised her. “My parents helped me to understand the Islamic philosophy and Islamic culture right here in America,� she said. She emphasized that America can be an ideal place for a young Muslim because this country gives Muslims the chance to grow within their religion without pressure. “Sometimes in predominantly Muslim countries youth are rushed into the practice of Islam without understanding the importance of it,� she added.

Syed Mohammad Razvi, an eleventh grader, spoke on his experience as a white American youth. “I love being Muslim in America, but don’t treat me as a criminal because of what happened on 9/11,� he passionately stated. He spoke about his fond childhood memories growing up Muslim in New York and expressed that he never was afraid of being Muslim until after 9/11. Recent violence and hate crimes are still occurring against Muslims even as far as Fremont,California, where a Muslim woman who was walking with her three year old boy was murdered.

Councilmember Lui was moved by this young man’s speech and expressed to the audience that one should never be afraid to be Muslim. After the speeches, were several cultural performances. Yacouba Sissoko from Mali played the Kora, Kinding Sindaw, Malaika Yasmin and Amira Aziza did a dance called Dance of Light. Amjad Hussain sung an Islamic Nasheed. The ceremony ended with Councilmember Lui recognizing the various government officials in the audience as well as members from various Islamic Organizations such as Women in Islam, Turning Point for Women and Families, and South Asian-American Community Empowerment.

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