Muslims in Tri-state redirecting Eid celebration resources to helping India

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The Forever USA stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service celebrating Eid.

Eid celebrations this year among Muslims of Indian origin in the Tri-state area will be muted. The community is deciding to spend any resources originally meant for celebrating this important Muslim festival to helping the needy in India ravaged by the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Among the events they have cancelled after months of preparation, is the celebration at the Indian Consulate in New York.

A regular feature annually at the Indian Consulate organized jointly with Indian American Muslims for the last few years, the Eid celebrations were officially cancelled by the Muslim community, noted Ilayas Quraishi, a community leader who is also the COO of Parikh Worldwide Media which brings out Desi Talk.

“We decided that whatever money we were going to use for Eid, we will divert to the needy in India,” Quraishi said.

This year Eid falls on May 13.

Juned Qazi. Photo provided

Juned Qazi, who has been one of the organizers of the annual Eid celebration told Desi Talk, it just did not seem right to be celebrating when there was so much pain happening in India.

“The Consulate had kindly invited us for a similar celebration this year as we hold every year for many years at the Consulate. We had even given a date for the Eid event, as May 18, the weekend following Eid. But suddenly, we saw people dying in India and how grave the situation had become. It was ethically and morally not right to celebrate when our fellow Indians were dying in great numbers,” Qazi told Desi Talk. “Celebration is only when there is happiness. Right now it is a sad situation and we are mourning and concerned.”

In response to his letter to the consulate canceling the event, the Consul General of India in New York responded with the following note:

“We deeply appreciate your gesture of not celebrating EID in the Consulate in the wake of the dire Covid situation in India. We look forward to celebrating EID with you in the near future. We count on your support to strengthen our community and cultural network in the United States,” wrote Consul General Randhir Jaiswal.

Muslims of South Asian descent constitute a significant part of the population in the Greater New York area.

One of the Muslim community leaders who belongs to the Dawoodi Bohra community, Ahmed Shakir, noted that by canceling the Eid celebrations, the true meaning of Islam is displayed.

“The message of Islam is to help people in need and during this holy month of Ramzan, we are doing that for the people of India who are in a dire situation,” Shakir said.

Ahmed Shakir. Photo provided

“Charity is a very important factor during Ramzan. When we saw how people in India were in grave trouble, we decided that the best way to ‘celebrate’ Eid was to help people there in need,” he added. His Dawoodi Bohra community in the U.S. is helping to raise funds to send materials and money needed to purchase the medical goods, food and other essentials for treating people.

According to nycreligion.info quoting from Journey data Center analysis, in 2015, Muslims in New York City numbered somewhere between 400,000 to 800,000. A Pew Research study at around the same time, counted Muslims as making up 3 percent of the population of NYC metro area, which would put them around 600,000 says nycreligion.info.

According to worldatlas.com estimates, New Jersey has the largest Muslim population by percentage, about 3 percent of the state’s total population; and in New York Muslims account for 2 percent of the total population. New York had the highest number of mosques in 2015, 285, according to nycreligion.info. More may have been added by now signifying the importance of this community in Greater New York.

According to a 2021 news report in Northjersey.com, New Jersey boasts some 136 mosques.

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