The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage, begins Monday, Sept. 12. For a few weeks, it looked as if the holiday was going to fall the day before: Sept. 11.
Not ideal timing.
On that horrific day 15 years ago, foreign Muslim extremists hijacked four planes and killed 2,996 people, and every day since then American Muslims have had to ask: What can I do to make you stop seeing me as a security threat?
Specifically, in my case, how can I, a dorky, brown, Muslim dude born in California and raised on Genesis and ’80s action movies, make you feel comfortable when you see me board a plane?
I guess one thing I could do is not celebrate a Muslim holiday on 9/11.
When I was growing up in Fremont, Calif., we marked Eid al-Adha by waking up early, wearing our finest shalwar khameez and heading out to the mosque or the fairgrounds. The holiday, which also honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael, calls for a “qurbani,” or animal sacrifice, and then distributing the meat to your family, neighbors and especially the poor. In my home, that meant weeks of glorious, halal lamb biryani and enough organs in the freezer to make Hannibal Lecter weep with joy.