The holy month of Ramadan and the succeeding holiday, Eid ul-Fitr, are two of the happiest and holiest times of the year for Muslims worldwide.
Eid ul-Fitr is one of two holidays in the year that gives Muslims the opportunity to celebrate happiness, family togetherness and their devotion to Islam.
For millions of Muslims, however, this year’s Eid will not be so joyous.
As political bigwigs push to carry out their agendas, Muslims around the world continue to suffer the consequences – living in misery, fear and oppression.
I wonder what kind of Eid Noor Muhammad will have this year.
The 12-year-old boy lost his eyes and both his arms because of U.S. strikes on his hometown in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
As other Muslim children receive gifts and hugs and visits from relatives, Muhammad will probably be in the hospital, putting the shattered pieces of his life together, now as a blind and disabled child.
How about Khalil, whose village was also wiped out by similar strikes?
In a report on U.S. attacks, he tells New York Times reporter Tim Weiner: “The village is no more. All my family, 12 people, were killed. I am the only one left in this family. I have lost my children, my wife. They are no more.”
As other Muslim families gather around the table for an Eid meal, Khalil will spend his Eid burying the last of his family members.
And what about the Muhammads and Khalils in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, India and other countries where Muslims are under constant suffering and hardship, with no reprieve for Eid?
How will they celebrate their Eid?
For many, Eid will mean settling into a refugee camp instead of decorating their homes.
It will mean trying desperately to find food for the day instead of preparing a special Eid meal for the family.
It will mean living through one more day of murder, oppression, rape, torture, humiliation and fear, instead of visiting family and friends.
Muslims are not the only ones to experience suffering and hardships, but they are by far the majority.
Many Muslims live in Third-World countries that are already poor, or they live in warring countries, where they are the victims of military aggression and attacks that result from the opposing political views among the nations’ leaders.
The opposition lasts for decades, and the civilian population is left to deal with the consequences.
With the United States being the superpower that it is, I sometimes wonder if we have a hand in all of this fear and oppression.
Sadly, the answer is yes.
While we are not totally responsible, the United States is strong enough and powerful enough to accomplish the goals it sets for itself.
However, sometimes we neglect to follow through on our goals, or sometimes we just set the wrong goals.
When the United States began bombing Afghanistan last October, Bush promised the Afghans an “era of new hope.”
The region is now in shambles and in economic and political ruin.
The Iraqi people have suffered enormous hardships because of U.S.-imposed economic sanctions and trade embargoes.
Over 5 million people have died, including 1.6 million children, because of lack of food and medicine.
The Palestinians have been living under 54 years of oppression and humiliation because of the Israeli occupation, which the United States gladly and willingly helps to continue with its yearly $3 billion in financial and military aid.
This year, Eid falls on Dec. 6, and you can be sure there are plenty of Muslims who are looking forward to it and who will celebrate it joyously, for it truly is a happy time.
Yet forget not the Muhammads and Khalils around the world for whom Eid will pass as if it were any other day of the year.
Rafif Safi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org