Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Sets Off the Crazies
by Sheila Musaji
There has been a Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Amusement Parks in many cities across the U.S. for 10 years now, since 2000. The idea was to plan a special day after Ramadan. This year some of these Family Days will be held on September 12th, and that has set off a firestorm of objections. Some even calling the event a “stab in the eye” of Americans, or “spitting in the face” of Americans.
Glenn Beck wonders why they (those Muslims) would be so insensitive as to pick a day so close to 9/11. Obviously his crack research staff needs to be replaced. That is the weekend after the end of Ramadan this year. The Islamic calendar is lunar rather than solar, so events on the Islamic calendar move forward by approximately 11 days each year in the lunar calendar. In a couple of years this event will be coming in August rather than September. In 2009 the events were planned around September 21, in 2008 around October 1, in 2007 around October 14 - you get the idea.
Contrary to all of the Islamophobic accusations, the date is simply when the three day Eid ul Fitr celebration (the celebration at the end of Ramadan) will fall this year. If you look on the front page of TAM you will see as the first item in the Editors Column this notice The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) have used a Shar’ia compliant method to determine the 2010 Ramadan and Eid calendars. On behalf of FCNA and ECFR, ISNA announces the first day of Ramadan to begin on Wednesday August 11, 2010 and Eid ul-Fitr will be Friday September 10, 2010.
Different communities were able to make arrangements to have this on different days. Here is the Muslim Family Day 2010 schedule:
Jackson, NJ (September 10), Dallas, TX (September 12), Chicago, IL (September 12), Washington, DC (September 12), Springfield, MA (September 18), Los Angeles, CA (September 18), San Francisco, CA (September 18), Atlanta, GA (October 2).
Anyone who works for a large corporation or business knows that often they make arrangements for a special day for their employees, or for their convention attendees at places like Six Flags or even Disneyland or Disneyworld. For a certain time period the park is closed except for people with that particular group. I am certain this wouldn’t be done unless the parks were making money on this. I have personally attended a number of these private events hosted by the corporation for which my husband works.
From the ICNA Muslim Family Day site (the organizers of this event) we learn “Over the years, Muslim Family Day has become a staple in the American Muslim community. The event has attracted over 100,000 in the past two years alone. Muslim Family Day was first held in 2000 at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. The tragic events of September 11th, which resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives, also affected this event directly. Tariq Amanullah, the chief organizer of Muslim Family Day, worked on the 96th floor of World Trade Center, Tower 2, and was a victim of the attacks. Through its various endeavors, ICNA honors his memory of building bridges between communities.” You will also discover that ICNA’s president is Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Price for his work pioneering microlending through the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
The Tea Party Patriots website (the same folks that brought you the “bring your dogs” protest of the Temecula mosque) has a page which posts the rantings of all sorts of bigots claiming that this is a “symbolic victory”, “this is all about conquest”, “Islam is not a religion”, “STOP THE SILENCE. STOP THE NONSENCE. STOP THE MUSLIM DAY - THEY ARE NOT AMERICANS. THEY DO NOT ABIDE BY OUR CONSTITUTION - THEY ARE NOT ONE OF US - YOU ARE EITHER WITH US OR AGAINST US - MAKE YOUR DECISION.”, ” Islam tells people it is OK to be two-faced liars”, ” they cannot ever respect our constitution because it’s in direct violation with Sharia and how they must abide by a set of laws called dualism, compelling them to lie to others”, “there is no such thing of (sic) a ‘mild’ muslim”.
And one bigot asks “Is Six Flags having a Catholic Day? Or a Protestant Day? Or a Jewish Day? Or a Black Liberation Theology Day? Or a Tea Party Patriots Day? No? Then why the special treatment for Muslims? Why? Did someone pay Six Flags an awful lot? Blood money?” Six Flags is not having a Muslim Family Day either. A Muslim organization paid to hold the event there. If Catholics, or Buddhists, or anyone else wants to arrange for such an event for their community they are welcome to do so, and of course they will have to pay for it just like the Muslims. If you check out Six Flags website you’ll see that they advertize that they cater to all sorts of groups including religious groups. They advertize that “We’ll work with you to create the perfect program of events and activities. For example, we can organize your day around one of our amazing Gospel or Contemporary Christian concerts.” And “Our experienced and professional catering and planning teams will work with you on every detail of your event. We cater to all types of dietary needs and will help you create a menu that’s right for your group.”
In some people’s eyes American Muslims seem to be guilty until proven innocent. As I said in another article about Tea Party racism “American Muslims are a part of “we the people”. We are Americans. We are not going anywhere. And, I believe that it is well past time that other Americans begin standing up against this demonization of Islam and Muslims. It would be nice to know that this sort of bigotry is not shared by most of our fellow Americans.”