‘Sad and so unfair’: Palestinian Americans celebrate a painful Eid

The sound of the decision to prayer resonated via Astoria Park in Queens, New York, on an Eid that noticed sunny climate and a chance for human connection after a 12 months spent aside through the pandemic.

The conclusion to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is often marked with a celebratory breakfast, new garments, and a refrain of “Eid Mubaraks” and “Alhamdulillahs.”

Plastic yard indicators that learn “Happy Eid” coated the park grounds. Men and ladies proceeded to their respective sections and laid out small prayer rugs on the grass to heat up for the massive occasion with a quick prayer. Children ran round as their dad and mom tried their greatest to focus on their non secular devotion.

But for Palestinian American Muslims and their allies it was a somber occasion that left them riddled with guilt. The violence “back home” of their motherland doesn’t encourage celebration. For many, it lights a fireplace as an alternative.

Anas Shuaib. Photograph: Ismail Ferdous/The Guardian

“I’m here for two reasons: the Eid prayer obviously and second, unfortunately, today all over Palestine – in Gaza, the West Bank – we have people getting lynched,” stated Anas Shuaib.

He added: “I’m a peaceful person. I want peace on both sides but peace doesn’t come at the price of people’s rights. When these things happen and the Palestinian people respond, I don’t feel bad when the Israeli government cries crocodile tears. They don’t care and the American government is behind them.”

Violence erupted in Gaza and Jerusalem over Israeli settlers’ pressured displacements of Palestinians residing within the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Israeli police stormed al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest website in Islam – through the closing nights of Ramadan. The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, fired rockets into Israel in retaliation – triggering an assault by the Israeli military. The battle has additionally seen bouts of communal violence in Israel between Jewish and Arab residents in blended cities.

More than 120 folks have died together with at the least 31 youngsters, in keeping with Gaza’s well being ministry. Despite the disproportionate quantity of deaths being Palestinian, Joe Biden stated “Israel has a right to defend itself”, frightening ire from Palestinian Americans and some progressive US lawmakers.

Among the indignant in Astoria park have been native politicians.

Tiffany Cabán, a candidate for New York metropolis council, is a progressive who has earned endorsements from leftwing stalwarts of the nationwide Democratic get together, akin to Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Standing inconspicuously underneath the shade of a tent in black headband, Cabán stated it was essential to point out up for the Eid celebration.

“I have learned so much from our beautiful and rich Muslim community here. We have stood together in so many fights. I’m just sending so much love and solidarity to Palestinian families. I urge folks to stand in solidarity,” she stated.

The speech earlier than the prayer, led by Zohran Kwame Mamdani, the Astoria meeting particular person, garnered enthusiastic reward. In lieu of applause, “Takbir Allahuakbar” could possibly be heard from each nook of the outside venue.

“We know our freedom, our joy, our struggle – is incomplete without the struggle of every other Muslim in the entire world. That goes from Palestine to Kashmir to the Uyghurs in China to our brothers and our sisters in Syria – to every single person across this entire globe. In the last few days when I have spoken up for our family in Palestine, I have been called many things but I’m so proud to be here today,” he stated.

Mamdani, a hip-hop artist turned politician, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. He can also be a vocal supporter of the boycott, divest from, and place sanctions in opposition to Israel motion, which urges a cultural and financial boycott of Israel in a related vogue to the marketing campaign in opposition to apartheid South Africa.

Mamdani stated the response to the present outbreak of violence felt totally different to earlier such occasions, particularly in gentle of latest condemnations of Israeli coverage by distinguished human rights teams.

“Me calling what’s happening in Israel ‘apartheid’ is not my opinion. It’s me citing the findings of the Human Rights Watch and international NGOs as well as Israeli NGOs. I am unwilling to depart from fact and entertain fiction just for the sake of political calculus. What I am so appreciative of in this moment – a moment of immense pain and struggle and tragedy – is that there is a light of hope.”

Muslim worshipers hold morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in Astoria Park, Queens of New York City, New York.
Muslim worshipers maintain morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in Astoria Park. Photograph: Ismail Ferdous/The Guardian

After the primary occasion, an Eid prayer, households sprawled throughout the park and exchanged hugs and greetings. Many headed to the water to satisfy with mates and spend the rest of the day having fun with the climate. Others like Diana Salahadin and her mom have been headed house.

Salahadin stated: “I’m a fashion design student. I always incorporate Palestine and the conflict in my designs. I’m feeling good because a lot more people are aware now. It’s about time. I know there’s a lot going on but I’m content with the awareness here. BLM started it. Everyone had enough already. The young generation is especially not afraid to speak. They protest and fight for what they want. They see change happening. Just educate yourself and listen to true stories of Palestinians.”

Salahadin’s mom, Amal Salameh, recalled the years she spent as a teenager within the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, seeing pressured and violent displacements of Palestinians from their houses.

“I was born in the old city of Jerusalem. I would love to go back. Even though I’m not there, it’s always in my mind. It is very important to me. It is a holy place and I love it so much. It is in my blood, I was studying there in high school at Sheikh Jarrah. It’s my best memories,” she stated.

She added: “I grew up there with all of my friends. Traveling from my house to Sheikh Jarrah took 20 minutes. Now with the occupation, it takes two hours because of all the checkpoints. It is really sad and so unfair. They take everything. But we’re going to fight for it. In the end Palestine will be free, but you have to fight for it until our blood reaches our knees.”

A muslim family near the east river after morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in Astoria Park, Queens.
A muslim household close to the east river after morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in Astoria Park, Queens. Photograph: Ismail Ferdous/The Guardian

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