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By Ivey DeJesus |
August 31, 2016
A new moon – which may appear in the sky by week's end – will determine if one of the most important Islamic holy days coincides with the annual commemoration of this country's worst terrorist attack.
The potential lining up of dates is engendering a national dialogue based, in some instances, on conjecture about its implications, but most Muslims in America agree on one basic point: That whether Eid al-Adha falls on or near the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is solely ordained by the celestial sky. "One thing to keep in mind is that this is a coincidence," said SherAli K. Tareen, assistant professor of religious studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Eid al-Adha — the feast of sacrifice, which commemorates the end of hajj, the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca, like other Islamic holy days, is determined by the lunar calendar.
In North America, the Eid al-Adha could fall on Wednesday, Sept. 11, or some time close to that day, depending on the moon sighting. The holy day is observed 10 to 11 days after the sighting of a new moon at the start of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, according to the Islamic calendar. "It's not something Muslims decide," Tareen says. "It's not like Muslims have taken on the decision."