Celebrating the Edi at the Mall
Ramadan, the glorious fasting month for Muslims has finally come to an end, no more Iftar under the big tent at Marina Grill and Holy Land Bakery, no more sweets Katife, Konafah, and no more California Majoul dates to break the day fast. 3o days of Christmas celebration has just vanish before your eye like unfinished sweet dream. Now it is time for Eid celebration, a celebration of complete realization that life goes on even after Ramadan; you have been for 30 days cleansing your body and your soul of all excessiveness of life. Now it is time for Muslims in America to go out there and an apologetically celebrate their end of ramadan Eid, and in post 9/11 America this is way overdue.
My daughter and I started Eid celebration by rushing to the nearest Mosque for the early Prayer. In the segregated prayer room, she is always perplexed by the unexplained gender separation praying. After the brief chanting of god’s greatness … “Allah Akbar, Allah Akber … we began the Eid prayer, and as the Imam with his three piece suit gives a short sermon, thanks god for that as Americans Muslim Imam seem to be a long series of divine threats. We need to stay true to our faith” he tells us “Don’t listen to the extremists’ rants, listen to your heart., right on brother. At Social hour, After warm kissing and hugging, bagels replace the traditional Eid cookies for the Eid snack. We present Elediah- a few new fresh dollar bills to our eager happy kids. Then we all headed to of all places, Mall of America, the shopping Mecca of the world, the consumers’ cathedral where millions visit to worship Calvin, Liz, Loren, Tommy and unveil the secrete of Victoria . For Muslims in America, Mall of America has become a new cultural sanctuary. Thousands of American Muslims of all ethnicities, nationalities, races and creeds gather to celebrate OUR own native customs and identities. Next to the Betty Crocker Bakery, A few Egyptian men catching up on their latest political jokes in Egypt. Several Palestinian women watch nervously As their kids vanish into the maze of Camp Snoopy indoor playground. A group of Iraqis enjoy a rare peaceful moment by the indoor garden, while not too far away, some Somali men Kneeling down in the corner getting ready for the noon prayer. Next to them, a cluster of young Pakistani men are listening to their iPods and comparing latest features on their iPhone. By the Rainforest Café, some West Africans in their crisp white robes and hats seem oblivious the strange artificial noises coming from the tropical theme restaurant. On the rollercoaster Muslim boys ride with Muslim girls, who laugh as their headscarves ; hjjab, fly over their faces above their unconcerned parents. in the middle of the mall a few Muslim women, cloaked with their traditional black dress Burks, walking together in concert, their black unified bodies eclipse the front window of Victoria’s secrete, seem oblivious to its window undressing displays. We are not shopping, just celebrating. There Are no shopping bags to carry, just our kids, No culture idol to worship except our Allah, No fashion trends to follow, only our traditions. It’s Christmas without the shopping craze, every year, Thousands of American Muslims turn the biggest shopping center in the world into a non-shopping mall … Where the biggest gift we get is our free spirit. Happy Eid Everyone.
Ahmed Tharwat, Host Belahdan, Arab American TV Talk Show