President Obama Wishes Muslims A Happy Eid Al-Adha Amid Violence

The holiday has been marked by anti-Muslim attacks.
President Obama extended a hand to the Muslim community on Monday as celebrations for Eid al-Adha got underway.
President Obama extended a hand to the Muslim community on Monday as celebrations for Eid al-Adha got underway.
OLIVIER DOULIERY via Getty Images

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar, this week. Typically a day of great festivity, the holiday has been marked this year by several acts of anti-Muslim violence in the United States. Once again, Muslim Americans are grappling to feel welcome and secure in their home country.

President Obama extended a hand to the Muslim community on Monday to wish the faithful a happy Eid.

“During this time, Muslims from all walks of life join their neighbors and friends at their local mosques, community centers, and homes to pray, give alms, exchange gifts, and recommit to helping others,” the president wrote.

But the holy day was tarnished by violence in the midst of a rising climate of Islamophobia in the U.S., reinforced by anti-Muslim rhetoric from public figures like Donald Trump.

On Sept. 8, several days before Eid al-Adha, a woman allegedly attacked two Muslim women and their babies in Brooklyn, New York, screaming “Get the the f**K out of America, b***hes. This is America — you shouldn’t be different from us.”

Over the weekend, a man walked up to a woman wearing in a hijab in New York City and set her clothing on fire. On Sunday ― the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks ― someone attacked a New Hampshire mosque’s window with rocks while parishioners were inside. Early Monday morning, as the holiday began, a man allegedly set a mosque on fire in Florida. And that night, someone repeatedly crashed a tractor-trailer into a Maryland mosque.

Obama didn’t comment on the attacks in his statement, but honored those celebrating the holy day and remembered the many Muslim refugees around the world who are celebrating the holiday in dire circumstances.

“As we mark Eid al-Adha this year, we are reminded of the millions of refugees around the globe who are spending this sacred holiday separated from their families, unsure of their future, but still hoping for a brighter tomorrow,” Obama said in a statement.

In August, the Obama administration announced it had reached its goal of welcoming 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country. The administration also said it was on track to welcome 85,000 refugees from around the world by the end of the fiscal year.

“As a Nation, we remain committed to welcoming the stranger with empathy and an open heart—from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life,” the president said on Monday.

Eid al-Adha commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God, and it coincides with the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Read the president’s full greeting below:

Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslims across our country and around the world who are celebrating Eid al-Adha. This special holiday is a time to honor the sacrifice, resolve, and commitment to God demonstrated by Abraham. It marks the end of the pilgrimage of Hajj performed each year by millions of Muslims who journey from all corners of the world to Mecca as a testament to their faith. It is also a celebration of the ways faith can transcend any differences or boundaries and unite us under the banners of fellowship and love.

During this time, Muslims from all walks of life join their neighbors and friends at their local mosques, community centers, and homes to pray, give alms, exchange gifts, and recommit to helping others. Food and money are distributed to those in need as men, women, and children reflect on their fortune and look towards the next year.

As we mark Eid al-Adha this year, we are reminded of the millions of refugees around the globe who are spending this sacred holiday separated from their families, unsure of their future, but still hoping for a brighter tomorrow. And as a Nation, we remain committed to welcoming the stranger with empathy and an open heart—from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life.

May the spirits of community, togetherness, principled service, and compassionate generosity bring good tidings to those celebrating Eid al-Adha. From our family to yours, Eid Mubarak.

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