Eid Chicago-style: prayers and guns

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.

eid parking lot

The men are in the front, the women in back.  An empty twenty-foot strip of grass separates them.

eid crowd in soccer stadium

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.

eid traffic

Here is a typical sight in this neighborhood–women with scarves driving land rover type vehicles, here seen in the rear view mirror.

eid 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.

eid mosque

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.

eid gun1

eid gun2

eid gun3

eid gun4

eid gun5

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Posted in Islam. 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Eid Chicago-style: prayers and guns”

  1. canehan Says:

    I don’t know if this is a common sight in the US, but I find it seriously disturbing from a European point of view. Will they gfraduate to AAK-47s ?

  2. canehan Says:

    Pardon the typos. I was particularly referring to the second-last photo.

  3. Nijma Says:

    Maybe they’re going squirrel hunting. :~) :~| :~(

    I find it disturbing yes, maybe because as children we weren’t allowed to play with toy guns. You don’t see kids playing with guns much in public. Also, Chicago has a gun ban, partly because of numerous drive-by and gang-related shootings of children by children (this mosque is in a suburb).

    Jordan certainly has a different attitude toward guns, with guards carrying automatic weapons visible around public buildings, but why bring those problems here?

    A Jordanian Christian told me about a time back in the army when he went to mass one day in uniform and forgot he was wearing his service revolver. A nun asked him very gently for his weapon and kept it for him until the end of the mass. So the Christian Arabs don’t mix guns with religion.

    Why at a mosque? The guns must have been bought in the mosque parking lot, since they were unwrapping them from boxes and assembling them there on the street. That says to me the mosque leadership approves of it.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Moslem boys play with toy guns but American and European adults play with REAL GUNS to shoot innocent people in wars they make-up (under the umbrella of human rights) with the motif of greed and controlling the other !!!! and then they are using such pictures AS IF moslems are teaching their sons warefare in very early age. That’s really ridiculous. Actually the murders of the world ARE very much known by everybody, and trying to twist facts looks silly because everyone knows who the real killer is.

  4. canehan Says:

    And I got disturbed at a London wedding a few years ago, when the Troubles were at their height in northenr Ireland. Some of the guests were from a small Protestant church there, and told me they always had guns in church “in case the Catholics attack us.” Didn’t sound very Chrisian to me …

  5. canehan Says:

    Christian …

  6. Nijma Says:

    It’s unfortunate, but religious violence, and violence against churches is a very real possibility in some places. In Ethiopia many churches near the Sudanese border were destroyed in earlier years; there is one church with famous ceiling paintings

    that has a story about being saved from annihilation at the hands of Moslem attackers by a swarm of bees. In Rwanda ethinc massacres were carried out in churches where people had gone for refuge. Even in this country, a lone gunman who had been reading right-wing literature walked into a church where children were performing a play, and gunned down several people before the parishioners disarmed him with their bare hands.

    In Jordan we were told to avoid crowds during one particular Christmas Eve, there being some information about a plan for attack on that day. Those of us who ignored the phone call from the embassy and went to church anyhow…well, I was at the Nebo monastery where the late King’s brother was expected to attend, and seconds before his expected arrival, an explosion was heard toward the upper right side of the church. Then a gentleman in uniform and carrying a machine gun walked into the middle of the church and stood there very attentively with gun pointed at the rear entrance for the remainder of the evening. Then the former crown prince came in with his entourage, right on the dot of when the service was scheduled to begin, and quickly walked to the front and took a seat there.

    This particular Chicago mosque shouldn’t have anything to fear–there is always a heavy police presence outside their events, and it’s easy to patrol since it’s in a cul-de-sac with only one entrance. I have only heard of one instance of trouble–my friends there were receiving threatening phone calls. They contacted the authorities, and eventually found out it was another Moslem from their mosque who was threatening them.


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