(SEATTLE, WA, 6/23/2017) – On June 24, 25 and 26, more than 5,000 American Muslims across Washington state, many along with their families, are expected to visit a total of more than 20,000 of their neighbors of other faiths and backgrounds to deliver greetings and gifts as part of a statewide initiative marking the Eid ul-Fitr holiday at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan by that state’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA). A total of 30,000 Eid cards have been set to be displayed at more than 50 of the approximately 60 mosques across Washington State, each with multiple packets of Eid cards for mosque-goers to pick up and give to their neighbors. (See attached photo of one such display at a local mosque).
SEE: Project web site
ALSO SEE: Facebook ”˜event’ page
ALSO SEE: Facebook event pages from past years with photos of Eid Gift Packs by community members in past years:
Washington State Muslim families, youth and children in the following areas will participate in the project: Puget Sound area (Blaine/Bellingham to Olympia), Spokane-area, Vancouver & Clark County area, Tri-City area, Yakima Valley, Pullman and other major towns statewide.
PHOTO & INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: A number of Muslim community members across Washington State that plan to deliver Eid gifts are available immediately for interviews and for photography as they prepare and deliver their Eid gifts to neighbors this weekend. Please contact CAIR-WA to be put in touch with local participants from your city for photo, video, and story opportunities.
Ahsen Nadeem, Youth Director at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) conceived the idea for this project in 2013. “God informs us that if we have mercy on those on Earth, the one in the heavens will have mercy on you. So in this Ramadan we try to strengthen that vertical connection with God, in one way by strengthening a horizontal one to those around us, particularly our neighbors and those in need,” he said.
“There are over 100,000 American Muslims across our state who, inspired by their faith, give back to society every single day. Muslims here are Americans in their hearts and in fact – most are born or raised as U.S. citizens. Every day, thousands of American Muslim public school teachers like Sobia Sheikh at Explorer Middle School in Everett, Mona Ali in Spokane Schools, and Nadiyah Samad at Tesla STEM High School in Bellevue, are engaging and inspiring the next generation of Americans. Thousands of American Muslim firefighters like Ahmed Badran of King County Fire and Rescue and law enforcement officials like Seattle Police Department Sergeant Yanal Vwich and his wife, Seattle PD officer Elle Dani, are working every day to keep us all safe. Thousands of American Muslims like U.S. Navy person Ali Ansari at Whidbey Island Naval Airbase are serving our nation as active duty military personnel, and thousands more American Muslims like Imam Benjamin Shabbaz are proud U.S. military veterans. Thousands of American Muslim nurses like Salimah Osman at Harborview are providing compassionate care. Thousands of American Muslims are business people, and in the many other roles building our nation’s vibrant economy,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “By having Washington State Muslim families visit their neighbors of other faiths, we expect that more than 20,000 fellow Washingtonians of all faiths will have a chance to meet their Muslim neighbors and build long-lasting relationships,” he said.
Backgrounder on the Eid ul-Fitr Holiday:
American Muslims will soon celebrate the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan with communal prayers around the country. (Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset.)
The prayers mark the beginning of the Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or “feast of fast breaking” holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen bonds of brotherhood in the community.
During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning “blessed Eid,” and “taqabbalallah ta’atakum,” or “may God accept your deeds.” Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities on the day of Eid.
Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
More information about Islam and Muslims is available at: www.cairseattle.org/allies
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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