Muslim leaders feared that the celebrations might have been mistakenly -- or deliberately misconstrued. "Definitely there are people who would like to make us look like we are celebrating on 9/11 and we are not going to let them," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Director of Outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center, Washington DC.
Many Muslims believed that sensitivity toward the anniversary of September 11 is crucial since this has been a tense summer for Muslims in the US due to the controversy over the Grand Zero mosque.
The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, California announced cancellation of its Eid al-Fitr carnival on Sept. 11. For the past several years, the Islamic Cultural Center had celebrated Eid al-Fitr with a carnival on the first Saturday after the holiday, when the potential is greater for large attendance. Center officials said the cancellation was an acknowledgment that any celebration could be misinterpreted and also could be seen by some as insensitivity to the remembrance of 9/11.
With anti-Muslim rhetoric reaching epic proportions in broader U.S. society -- largely tolerated, rarely condemned the American Muslim community remains optimistic that the current campaign which is partly driven by the forthcoming elections will eventually subside since the
religious freedom is a founding principle of this country and the main catalyst for its origins in the early seventeenth century. This principle was emphatically reiterated by President George Washington in his 1790 letter to the Jews of Rhode Island who built the Touro Synagogue:
"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy -- a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.......The Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."
When President Washington wrote this letter 220 years back, he must have been aware of the effect it would have on the fledgling nation.
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