By Deborah Bailey,
AFRO D.C. News Editor
Black Muslims across the United States and the world are celebrating ‘Eid Al-Fitr, the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan in the Muslim faith at midnight on May 2.
Eid-Al-Fitr, the ‘Festival of Breaking Fast’ is one of the first of two Eids in the Islamic calendar, and is celebrated to mark the end of the month of Ramadan, a time where Muslims across the world participate in month-long dawn to sunset fast.
“Today, Black people (not including those of Hispanic descent or mixed-race) make up 20 percent of the country’s overall Muslim population,” stated Besheer Mohamed in a Pew Research Center paper on Black Muslims. Mohamed, a senior researcher in religion at Pew, said most Black American Muslims are clustered in urban centers in the nation’s northeast corridor.
The White House hosted a celebration of Eid Al-Fitr on the afternoon of May 2 calling for attention to the plight of the millions of displaced Muslims in countries worldwide.
“This year, as we mark Eid Al-Fitr, we hold in our hearts the millions of displaced persons and refugees around the globe who are spending this sacred holiday separated from their families and unsure of their future, but still hoping for a brighter tomorrow,” said President Joe Biden in a release in advance of the celebration.
The United States is moving toward acknowledgment of Eid Al-Fitr with an increasing number of school districts remaining closed on Monday or Tuesday to celebrate the holiday.
US Congressman Andre Carson (D-Ind.), the nation’s second elected Black Muslim in Congress believes the growing recognition of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr is a positive development.
“I’m pleased to see a growing interest and appreciation for Islam and the global Muslim community. This change is due to the interfaith work and tireless activism of Muslims around the world,” Carson said.
New York City was the first major jurisdiction to announce its public schools would be closed for Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Adha back in 2015, although several smaller districts in New Jersey have recognized the holiday dating back to 2003.
A growing number of school districts in cities and counties large and small have recognized Eid Al-Fitr as the holiday on the school calendar as the percentage of Muslim children in public schools across the US expands.
School Districts in Albany, N.Y., Burlington, Vt, Philadelphia, Baltimore City and County, Detroit, Mich., Prince Georges County in Maryland, Prince William County in Virginia and school districts across Minnesota, with sizable Muslim populations are all closed either May 2 or May 3.
Last week, Boston City Council became one of the first municipalities to pass a resolution urging the city to recognize Eid Al-Fitr as a city holiday commencing in 2023.
“Eid Al-Fitr is a day of enormous meaning to Muslims, both for its historical impact and for the ongoing centrality it has within the faith. The Muslim Population is a growing one at local, national and international levels. There are around 80,000 Muslims in the greater Boston area, and nearly 3.5 Million Muslim Americans in the United States,” the resolution stated.
Carson said that continued efforts by Muslim individuals and organizations on the local level help communities understand and move to support the traditions and observances of their Muslim neighbors.
“I’m passionate about these efforts and will continue working to uplift our community. Eid Mubarak to all of my fellow Muslims!” exclaimed Carson.
Eid Al-Fitr takes place during the tenth month of the Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic Calendar. The holiday begins after seeing the crescent Moon on the last day of Ramadan, so the start may vary around the world.
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