There are two “eids” or festivals in the Moslem religious calendar: the “big eid“, a feast for those who are returning from the Haj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and the small eid, the three day feast that follows the fasting month of Ramadan. Today is the first day of the post-Ramadan feast.
A few years ago prayers were held in the mosque, with overflow, mostly for the women, in adjoining buildings where the prayers could be seen on large TV screens. For the last few years the prayer has been at a local soccer stadium.
The men are in the front, the women in back. An empty twenty-foot strip of grass separates them.
The governor even showed up and gave a talk. For more mainstream-type photos, see the Chicago Tribune‘s coverage of the event.
For my view, keep going.
The traffic was worse than rush hour, and crowd control was provided by the police department and by the soccer stadium staff, who referred to the women’s entrance as “entrance for women”, not the “entrance for sisters”, as the mosque staff do.
Here is a typical sight in this neighborhood–women with scarves driving land rover type vehicles, here seen in the rear view mirror.
Then on to the mosque parking lot, where there are events for children, mostly moon walks and toys for sale. Small boys with toy pistols run through the crowd shooting at various people. “We’re out of bullets,” says one.
I am reminded of the year I was in Jerusalem during eid. Small boys ran though the ancient streets shooting at each other with toy machine guns. Not an impromptu activity. I once saw an organized school program in which girls did folk dances and little boys, five years old at the most, marched around the stage with plywood machine guns. What a childhood. And how lucky I am to be born in a country where children can be children instead of being expected to go to war.
But what’s this? The guns are toys, I think, but it looks to me like the little Moslem boys are being taught warfare.