Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Every year, Muslim leaders around the world look to the moon to predict the date for one of their most important holidays, Eid al-Adha — the feast of sacrifice and bloodletting. But this year, the holiday could fall on the dreaded date of September 11th depending on where the moon is. Gee, I wonder if New York City will be lighting the Empire State Building in ‘Islam green’ as they do for EID every year, even if it falls on 9/11?
NY Times Habeeb Ahmed of the Islamic Center of Long Island, NY, says he could easily foresee how some might misunderstand the festivities, and say, “Look at these Muslims, they are celebrating 9/11.”(No different than they do every year anyway)
The potential for the holiday to fall on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks has stirred apprehension among Muslims in New York City and across the country at a time when violent acts committed by Muslims in America and around the world have provoked inflammatory political rhetoric and helped fuel an alleged surge in hate crimes against Muslims. (Most of which are little more than name-calling or graffiti)
In New York, the possibility of the holiday falling on Sept. 11 has intensified security concerns and fears already reverberating throughout the Muslim community after the killings of an imam and his assistant in Queens this month (Which police have determined was not an anti-Muslim hate crime).
For some, it also resurfaces memories of the backlash and the police surveillance directed at Muslims in the years after the attacks. (Police surveillance of Muslims ended with the election of Mayor Bill deBlasio which puts New York City at greater risk of a Muslim terror attack)
Linda Sarsour, the radical Islamic executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said. “What am I supposed to tell my kids?” (How about pack your bags, we are leaving America?)
The likelihood of this year’s Eid al-Adha landing on Sept. 11 is still unclear. Every year, the holiday takes place 10 days after the sighting of a new moon at the start of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, according to the Islamic calendar. Exactly when the month begins depends on when a new moon is spotted, and the month is expected to start this year on Sept. 1 or 2.(7th century science at its best)
“It’s on the minds of every Muslim leader in the country right now,” Robert McCaw, Muslim convert and the director of government affairs at the designated terrorist group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), said. “We grieved like everyone else,” he added, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks. “We remember this day not because we’re Muslim, but because we are in America.” (And sad that there hasn’t been another 9/11 in America since 2001).
The possibility that the holiday could fall on Sept. 11 has prompted some mosques that frequently hold holy day services outdoors, such as Masjid Hamza in Valley Stream, N.Y., on Long Island, to move their prayer services inside to avoid congregating and raising their asses to allah in a public place and offending Americans.
Karim Mozawalla, a trustee at Masjid Hamza, said that in some past years, its members had gathered in a public park for a prayer service. This year, multiple smaller prayer services will be held inside the mosque.
Shamsi Ali, the imam at the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, said his congregation still intended to host its outdoor prayer service, which is expected to attract 20,000 people, one of the largest gatherings in New York City. (What better way to offend New Yorkers living in Queens, many of whom lost loved ones on 9/11)
In Dearborn, Mich., home to one of the country’s largest concentrations of Muslims, Ibrahim Kazerooni, the imam at the Islamic Center of America, said Muslims should celebrate Eid on 9/11 as they normally would.
Tahir Kukiqi, the imam at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center on Staten Island, said the concerns about a potential backlash around the holiday resonated on a personal level. “There is a lot of hate out there,” Mr. Kukiqi said. “And there is a lot of ignorance as well.”
Even before the FBI identified new cyber attacks on two separate state election boards, the Department of Homeland Security began considering declaring the election a "critical infrastructure," giving it the same control over security it has over Wall Street and and the electric power grid.
The latest admissions of attacks could speed up that effort possibly including the upcoming presidential election, according to officials.
"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
"There's a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure," he said at media conference earlier this month hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
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DHS has a vital security role in 16 areas of critical infrastructure and they provide a model for what the department and Johnson could have in mind for the election.
DHS describes it this way on their website: "There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof."
A White House policy directive adds, "The federal government also has a responsibility to strengthen the security and resilience of its own critical infrastructure, for the continuity of national essential functions, and to organize itself to partner effectively with and add value to the security and resilience efforts of critical infrastructure owners and operators."
At the time, Johnson did not mention specific security issues, but the FBI has since cited one hack and another attempt.
Johnson also said that the big issue at hand is that there isn't a central election system since the states run elections. "There's no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process," Johnson said.
"There's a national election for president, there are some 9,000 jurisdictions that participate, contribute to collecting votes, tallying votes and reporting votes," he said.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org