Muslims in the US are nervous about celebrating Eid this year as
the festival coincides with the 9/11 anniversary that too amid a
controversy over plans to build a mosque near ground zero.
A worried US commander in Afghanistan has criticised a Florida
church's plan to mark the anniversary of Sep 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington by burning copies of the Quran,
and warned that the demonstration "could cause significant
problems" for American troops overseas.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort
in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued
The Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, insists
the Quran burning event is "neither an act of love nor of hate",
but a warning against what it calls the threats posed by Islam.
With about 120,000 US and NATO-led troops still battling Al Qaeda
and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement,
Petraeus warned that burning Qurans "is precisely the kind of
action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems - not
just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the
Several religious organisations have joined with US Muslim groups
to oppose the Quran-burning. The National Association of
Evangelicals is urging the Florida church to cancel the event,
warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two
Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu leaders in Gainesville have
organised a "Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope" the
night before the scheduled Quran burning.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for
the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told CNN: "Most
Muslim communities will be reluctant to have something that's
perceived to be celebratory on 9/11 even though we're not
"There's a whole cottage industry of Muslim bashers now who would
seize on that," he said. "Unfortunately, these are the times we
With many American Muslims already feeling intense scrutiny over
the controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic centre and mosque
near New York's ground zero, many mosques and Islamic groups are
dramatically altering their usual plans for Eid ul-Fitr, the end
of Ramadan, CNN said.
The Islamic Centre of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which made national
headlines after the site of its future mosque was vandalised last
month, has decided against scheduling any festivities for
"It's a sad day for us as Americans and it's a sad day for us a
nation and we don't feel it would be right to celebrate on the
anniversary of 9/11," Abdou Kattih, vice president of the centre's
board of directors, was cited as saying by CNN.
In lieu of celebrations, many mosques are planning open houses
next weekend in the hope of strengthening ties to their
communities, according to Naeem Baig, vice president for public
affairs at the Islamic Circle of North America.
A coalition of influential Muslim groups has announced a national
day of service for Sep11, aimed largely at burnishing the image of
American Muslims at a sensitive time.
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)