DC area Shiite Muslims mark Eid holiday despite Huckabee's harsh words

American Muslims celebrate holiday of forgiveness, charity and prayer while Mike Huckabee calls the holiday worshipers Photo: Patisserie Poupon sells specialty Eid cakes

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2013 — As the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims commemorate the end of Ramadhan with the Eid holiday around the world, a mosque just outside Washington D.C. celebrates cultural diversity. Fox News Correspondent, and former Governor, Mike Huckabee, however had harsh words to say about the peacefully celebrated holiday.

The Idara e Jaferia or “House of the Jaferi Muslims” is a Shiite mosque with approximately a thousand congregants, and nearly thirty percent of them are federal employees. (The word Jaferi is an ancient moniker for Shiite Muslims.) Ramadhan is the Islamic holy month of fasting, wherein Muslims are required to abstain from all food and drink from dawn to sunset each day.


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The holiday went off without a hitch around the world today, despite Huckabee’s remarks that “You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday. So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals — throwing rocks and burning cars.”

The congregants at the Idara e Jaferia hail from nearly a dozen different countries, including India, Pakistan, Burma, Iraq, Burma, Turkey, England and even Mexico , but all of them listened to the sermon in English because of a rule that Islamic sermons must be in the “language of the land”.

Sheikh Abdul Jaleel delivered the holiday sermon today, encouraging positive relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims, announcing “God holds today as a day of forgiveness, brother must forgive brother, sister must forgive sister, all of you us forgive each other and move forward in friendship.”

Sheikh Jaleel delivers the Eid day sermon

Sheikh Jaleel delivers the Eid day sermon

The Sheikh explains that this holiday is formally named Eid ul Fitr, and has a mandatory component of giving a special type of charity, called Fitrah. This year the Idara e Jaferia is collecting donations and will distribute them locally amongst needy individuals, which is another religious component of the celebration.

Across the nation, each of America’s more than two thousand mosques are doing the same thing. The practice originates from the earliest days of Islam, when Prophet Muhammad instituted the festival as a way to commemorate the end of the month of fasting.

News media, for example, recorded a pleasant day of Eid celebrations in Nigeria. France’s five million Muslims happily celebrated without incident. Not a single riot was held, rock was thrown, or car was burned in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bahrain, countries typically associated with violence.

President Obama released a statement marking the advent of Eid by saying “Many of us have had the opportunity to break fast with our Muslim friends and colleagues—a tradition that reminds us to be grateful for our blessings and to show compassion to the less fortunate among us.” 

This week the State Department also opened up a new office, titled the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, and described its purpose in a statement “It will … work closely with faith communities to ensure that their voices are heard in the foreign policy process, including through continued collaboration with the Department’s religion and foreign policy working group.”

Huckabee, however, continued his harsh attack, saying “I know we’re not supposed to say anything unkind about Islam … I mean, it’s politically incorrect.”

Azmat Husain, director at UMAA, the nation’s largest Shia Muslim group, disagreed with the Governor. “The problem is that his statements aren’t ‘politically incorrect’ it’s that they are factually incorrect. Today, more than a billion Muslims around the world are going to their places of worship, donating to the poor, and then having a nice meal with their families. I don’t think there’s anything ‘uncorked’ about that.”

“On the day of Eid, you must learn to love your neighbor, it doesn’t matter what religion he is, where he came from, who he is. You have to get to know him, help him, and be his friend” said Syed Muhammad Naqvi, Idara e Jaferia President, speaking to the values his center holds about the holiday.


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Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues.

 

In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.

 

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