Empire State Building honors Muslim holy day of Eid al-Fitr with green lights

by Kimberly Pennington |

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)The Empire State Building is lit with green lights during St. Patrick's Day in New York March 17, 2009. Since 2007 the privately-owned property has turned its normally white lights to green Friday in honor of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- Continuing a tradition which began in 2007, New York City's Empire State Building turned its normally white lights to green Friday in honor of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Green is symbolic in Islam for a happy occasion and the importance of nature.

Although the privately-owned property has a long tradition of changing its building colors in honor of other holidays such Easter, Hanukkah, and Christmas, Pamela Geller, president of American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, finds this year's celebration offensive in the wake of the July 16 shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee in which four U.S. Marines and one Navy petty officer were fatally wounded.

Geller, who organized an anti-Islamic art event in Garland, Texas earlier this year where violence erupted, wrote an opinion piece stating, "Not one day – not twenty-four hours after the Chattanooga jihad mass murder – the symbol of American individualism, capitalism, and the capital of the world, the Empire State Building . . . celebrated the Muslim 'holiday' of Eid-al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

"Ramadan is the most violent month of the year in the Islamic world, because Ramadan is the month in which Muslims renew their devotion to Allah, and violent jihad is a supreme act of devotion to Allah," she said.

"This is not political correctness; this is sharia adherence," she continued. "Wherever your sympathies may lie, the idea that the Empire State Building would turn green for Eid not a day after five U.S. soldiers were murdered in cold blood in the cause of Islam on American soil is surrender. We have indeed been conquered.

"Wouldn't it have been appropriate and respectful for the owners of the Empire State Building, in honor of our fallen heroes, if they had to commemorate Eid at all, to drape the Empire State Building in red, white and blue? What 'moderate Muslim,' what Muslim of conscience, would have or could have objected?" Geller said.

"Of course, not every Muslim is responsible for jihad attacks," Geller's commentary continued, "but until Muslim communities in the U.S. start fighting actively against the jihad doctrine that justifies all this violence, Islam shouldn't be celebrated."

Empire State Building management receives hundreds of requests each year to change its lights to particular colors for various causes and events. Its selection process is not public, but all requests for political campaigns, religious figures and organizations, and personal events are denied.

Despite 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's admission in March 2007 the Empire State Building had been a target for the September 11, 2001 attacks by Muslim extremists which killed more than 2,700 people in New York City alone, an Empire State Building spokesperson released a statement that year regarding plans to honor Eid on an annual basis.

"This is the first time that the Empire State Building will be illuminated for Eid, and the lighting will become an annual event in the same tradition of the yearly lightings for Christmas and Hannukah," the statement read.

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