- For Immediate Release & Distribution -

Media Advisory: Illinois Muslims to Mark End of Hajj with Prayer and Celebration

(CHICAGO, 12/05/08) - On Monday, December 8th , the Muslim community in America will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country.

A congregation in Carol Stream, for example, anticipates close to 2,000 Muslims coming to pray at the Holiday Inn (150 S. Gary Ave.) at 8:00 a.m. and again at 10:00 a.m.

The prayers, and the holiday that follows, are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” Eid ul-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” Each year, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go on Hajj.

WHEN: Monday, December 8 – The prayers are held in the morning. Many communities also hold day-long Eid festivals for families. Go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/) Prayers are held early in the morning. Ask local prayer coordinators for exact times and locations.

WHERE: The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings.

CONTACT: Call local Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations. If there are no known contacts in a particular community, go to: http://www.islamicfinder.com/

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims come to the prayers in colorful attire representative of different areas of the Islamic world. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes are advised to dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots. Shots of shoes removed for prayer, and rear-angle shots of prostrating worshipers are considered inappropriate.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

- END –

CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: arehab@cair.com; ; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: communications@cairchicago.org 312.212.1520

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