Media Advisory: Illinois Muslims to Mark End of Ramadan with Communal Prayers

(CHICAGO, 9/30/08) – On Wednesday, October 1* , the Muslim community in America will celebrate the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan with communal prayers around the country. (Ramadan is the month on the Muslim lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other physical needs from the break of dawn to sunset.) At a congregation in Bridgeview, for example, close to 10,000 are expected at Toyota Park, Bridgeview (7000 S Harlem Ave) at 10:00 a.m Wednesday.

*(Mosques may celebrate on Thursday due to method of determining lunar month; consult local mosques)

The prayers mark the beginning of the Eid ul-Fitr (EED-al-FITTER), or “feast of fast breaking” holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen bonds of brotherhood in the community.

During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” (EED-moo-BAR-ak), meaning “blessed Eid.” Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers.

Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha, comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 (*Date may vary. Consult local mosques. Go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/) Prayers are held early in the morning. Ask local prayer coordinators for exact dates, times and locations.

WHERE: The Eid prayers are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. (CAIR-Chicago’s executive director, Ahmed Rehab, will be delivering the 9:00 a.m sermon this Wednesday, October 1 at the Radisson Hotel Schaumburg, at 1725 E Algonquin Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60173.)

CONTACT: Call local Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations. If there are no known contacts in a particular community, go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims come to the prayers in colorful attire representative of different areas of the Islamic world. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes are advised to dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots. Shots of shoes removed for prayer, and rear-angle shots of prostrating worshipers are considered inappropriate.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: arehab@cair.com; ; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: communications@cairchicago.org 312.212.1520