US Muslims Forgo Typical Eid Gifts in Favor of Earthquake Aid

November 4, 2005

Source: Houston Chronicle

On November 4, 2005 the Houston Chronicle reported, "Any other year, Dr. Kashif Ansari would be celebrating Eid al-Fitr with a gathering of friends and family. He would be decked out in a new suit for an elaborate feast and the exchange of gifts, traditions of the Muslim holiday.

Not this year.

With the start of Eid today, Ansari will observe the traditionally festive holiday with prayer, as is required by the faith. But there will be few new clothes or gifts, he said. A banquet will be held as a fundraiser for survivors of the Oct. 8 earthquake in South Asia that killed more than 73,000 people and left millions of others homeless, most in Pakistan.

'None of the families I know are (buying) new clothes,' said Ansari, who is involved in relief efforts through the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America. 'In Houston, everybody I talk to has said, "No, not this year"'... Many Muslims, especially those of Pakistani descent, said they plan to tone down their Eid festivities this year. Some said they plan to give the money earmarked for feasts and finery to relief efforts in the Pakistan tent cities that are being set up for survivors."