CAIRO - Recharging their spiritual batteries during Ramadan, American Muslims celebrated `Eid Al-Fitr with their eyes and hearts directed to the hardships facing their community in the US as well as grieving about continued bloodshed in Syria.
You always try to find solace and reflect on your faith and your understanding of the faith to connect it to what's happening to you, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the President of the Council for Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and the Syrian American Medical Society, told Chicago Tribune.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
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Millions of Muslims across the world began celebrating the `Eid Al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan month of fasting on Sunday.
Gathering with thousands of other Muslims in Bridgeview's Toyota Park on Sunday to celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, Sahloul made the same supplications he had offered for the last 30 days.
He thanked Allah for getting him through the 30-day fasting trial and preparing him for even greater ordeals to come.
Grieving for his homeland, he prayed for Syria which suffered more bloody violence this weekend.
There are plenty of things in the Qur'an to connect to what's happening in Syria, said Sahloul, 47, of Burr Ridge.
We believe patience is the best virtue in a crisis you have no control on.
The whole fasting is about patience â¦ because God wants you to be patient. â¦ This will help you deal with crisis and calamity, he added.
A year and a half on, a once peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad inspired by the Arab Spring revolts against other autocratic regimes has descended into brutal civil war with no endgame in sight.
Men, women and children are trapped in bombed-out towns, people are struggling to find food or medical supplies to treat the sick and wounded, while the grim cycle of shelling and air strikes and fighting claims scores of lives daily.
As the conflict grinds bloodily into its 18th month, the death toll has risen alarmingly in the face of international deadlock.
It has surged from 2,200 in August 2011 to more than 23,000 now, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while the UN puts the figure at around 17,000.
Affected by recent attacks on several places of worship, the CIOGC president asked Allah to grant a sense of responsibility to politicians who condemn Islam just to win votes.
When you demonize the Muslims, unfortunately that will energize their base, Sahloul said.
This type of language does not help. It creates an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.
Sahloul was referring to recent comments made by Republican US Rep. Joe Walsh who told a town hall crowd that the threat of radical Islam existed in the Chicago suburbs.
He prayed for his brethren whose sacred spaces have been targeted by vandals, referring to attacks on seven mosques and a Sikh temple.
Last Friday, Sahloul urged the Muslim community to exercise extreme caution and immediately report any incidents of harassment, abuse or violence to the appropriate authorities.
His comments came as CIOGC sent a memo to its 63 mosques and organizations, advising them to create safety committees as well as emergency and evacuation plans to be distributed to members.
The memo also asked police for patrols during Ramadan and peak prayer times.
The warnings followed attacks on seven US mosques in the last two weeks, including three attacks last weekend.
All of that comes in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin which left six people and the gunman dead.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net