Eid this year is coinciding with the anniversary of 9/11, amid heavy Islamophobia. Some hatemongers have already announced rallies against the proposed Islamic cultural center at Park 51 on that day. There might be some threats or real attacks on your Masjid or Eid location. Here are some suggestions to prepare for Eid day.
1. Suggested Khutba components for Eid day:
- Talk about Tawakkul (reliance) on Allah
- Importance of establishing a regular direct relationship with Allah
- Concern for families, especially children
- Maintaining the Ramadan habits of sharing more and consuming less
- Remembering the terrible day of 9/11, offering sympathies to the innocents who died there, Muslims and non-Muslims
- Remember victims of wars in prayers (Muslims hate it when you keep condemning terrorism without condemning wars)
- Mention the current wave of Islamophobia which has resulted in harassment of 18 masjids across the U.S. including threats, gunshots, and arson
- Mention that unity is an obligation not an option in Islam
- Mention that Muslims are not alone in society.The peace movement, interfaith partners, and good politicians from the Democratic as well as Republican sides have spoken out against anti-Muslim hate. The Parliament of World Religions, which I have the honor of chairing, has issued “A Call for Solidarity”in opposition to Quran burning and anti-Masjid campaign
- Encourage civic participation and the importance of standing with those partners who stand with us
2. Dua suggestions:
- Please pray for peace, and for the end of wars
- Pray for the victims of floods in Pakistan, hunger in Niger, struggling Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and India
- Pray for the jobless in the US and those struggling in life
- Pray for those striving to make our society non-violent. More people have died in the U.S. from American-on-American violence than all world wars together in the last century.
3. Make it the best Eid for children:
- Muslim children are facing extreme pressure because of the Islamophobic environment: 75% have said they were discriminated against; 29% have been stopped by police because of profiling; 7% have been physically beaten up
- Make Muslim children and teens the focus of your Eid. They need to be at the center of the whole celebration. Families need to plan with children to make it the best for them. Masjids need to plan with the families so that children really enjoy it.
4. Announce October 2nd Rally for Jobs, Justice, and Peace
- The peace movement, the labor movement, African-American and Latino organizations are calling October 2nd a day of unity, demanding jobs, peace and justice. There will be a major rally that day in Washington DC. Encourage everyone to participate. Website: OneNationForPeace.org. Muslims must not remain silent because of fear. Muslim organizations are supporting the October 2nd rally. We stand with those who stand with us.
5. Security Considerations:
- Develop a security protocol for your masjid if it is not already in place.
- Make sure the first aid box is accessible and, if possible, there should be a designated medical help location if the Eid prayer place will attract a large number of Muslims. Members who know CPR should be stationed there
- Inform police to be present at the Eid location
- Inform police in writing of any threat of suspicious activity. Hysteria against Muslims is at an all-time high and crazy people do crazy things.
- Document. Document. Document. Each and every incident must be documented on several media with date and time and stored in multiple places. There should be designated people with cameras to document Eid program and any eventualities. A couple of cameras should be ready if some demonstrators show up. Some of the regular demonstrators in the past have committed hate crimes.
- Report. Report. Report. Each and every small and big, individual or property-related incidents must be reported to police, the FBI, CAIR and ADC with full documentation. This will allow our government to act.