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Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha on Sept 11? Coincidence stirs fears in US

NEW YORK — Every year, Muslim leaders around the world look to the moon to predict the date for one of their most important holidays, Eid al-Adha — the feast of sacrifice.

Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha on Sept 11? Coincidence stirs fears in US

Imam Shamsi Ali at the Jamaica Muslim Center in New York on Aug 24, 2016. Photo: The New York Times

NEW YORK — Every year, Muslim leaders around the world look to the moon to predict the date for one of their most important holidays, Eid al-Adha — the feast of sacrifice.

When Mr Habeeb Ahmed began about two months ago to plan for that holy day, he noticed a potentially fraught coincidence: Eid al-Adha could fall on Sept 11.

The potential for the holiday to fall on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks has stirred apprehension among Muslims in New York City and across the United States at a time when violent acts committed by religious extremists have provoked inflammatory political rhetoric and helped fuel a surge in hate crimes against Muslims.

In New York, the possibility of the holiday falling on Sept 11 has intensified security concerns and fears already reverberating throughout the Muslim community after the killings of an imam and his assistant in Queens this month. For some, it also resurfaces memories of the backlash and the police surveillance directed at Muslims in the years after the attacks.

Eid al-Adha honours the willingness of Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of submission to God’s command. The holy day can also serve as an opportunity to honour the sacrifice of those who were killed on Sept 11, 2001, said Mr Abdul Bhuiyan, secretary-general of the Majlis Ashura, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York.

The likelihood of this year’s Eid al-Adha landing on Sept 11 is still unclear. Every year, the holiday takes place 10 days after the sighting of a new moon at the start of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, according to the Islamic calendar. Exactly when the month begins depends on when a new moon is spotted, and the month is expected to start this year on Sept 1 or 2.

The possibility that the holiday could fall on Sept 11 has prompted some mosques that frequently hold holy day services outdoors, such as Masjid Hamza in Valley Stream, New York, on Long Island, to move their prayer services inside to avoid congregating in a public place. NEW YORK TIMES

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