On the same evening that millions of Americans gather around their Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate this most American of holidays, even more millions of Muslims around the globe, including the growing number of American Muslims, will do the same -- celebrating as well one of the most definitive moments of their faith -- Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for his God.
This holiday celebration comes soon after the tragic incident at Fort Hood, when the atrocious act of a mass murderer put Islam and Muslims under some pressure to either denounce or defend their faith.
The psychotic act of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, MD, a Muslim American military psychiatrist at Fort Hood who went on a rampage killing 13 U.S. soldiers and wounding 30 others, has prompted two diametrically opposed reactions.
It was also reported, on Thanksgiving eve, Obama issued special Hajj message to world's Muslims.
The Los Angeles Times quoted President as saying in his statement, "Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to all those performing Hajj this year, and to Muslims in America and around the world who are celebrating Eid-ul-Adha. The rituals of Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha both serve as reminders of the shared Abrahamic roots of three of the world’s major religions.
During Hajj, the world’s largest and most diverse gathering, three million Muslims from all walks of life – including thousands of American Muslims – will stand in prayer on Mount Arafat. The following day, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and distribute food to the less fortunate to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son out of obedience to God.
This year, I am pleased that the Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with the Saudi Health Ministry to prevent and limit the spread of H1N1 during Hajj. Cooperating on combating H1N1 is one of the ways we are implementing my administration's commitment to partnership in areas of mutual interest," The Los Angeles Times reports.
In the meantime, Muslims, worldwide, are preparing for the Eid al Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. The holiday is celebrated with the slaughter of an animal, which is then shared with the poor. While charity is key to the celebration, businessmen still do well.
The holiday commemorates the story of Ibrahim's willingness to follow God and sacrifice his son. Pleased with Ibrahim's obedience, God substitutes a ram for the child.
The story is one shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims -- who all recognize Ibrahim, or Abraham, as a prophet of their common God.
But it is Muslims who focus on the symbolism of the sacrifice, Voice of America reports.