CANTON – As the nation prepares to remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, one local church is working to counter the recent rise in demonstrations of anti-Islamic feelings, from demands not to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero to threats by a Florida preacher to publicly burn copies of the holy book of Islam, the Koran.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton has placed a banner on the front lawn Thursday afternoon, extending greetings to Muslim members of the larger community who celebrate the end today of Ramadan, the annual Muslim month of fasting and prayer.
“Eid moubarak” is the Arabic greeting that Muslims all over the world extend to each other to wish a “blessed Eid,” the feast day that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.
The banner is decorated with the silhouette of a mosque, characteristic of an Islamic place of worship, and the Flaming Chalice symbol that represents Unitarian Universalism. Beneath the Arabic greeting, are the words, “Wishing You a Blessed Holiday.”
The banner was placed at the suggestion of the congregation’s new minister, the Rev. David S. Blanchard, and was endorsed by the governing council of the church.
The Unitarian Universalist religious tradition honors, respects, and draws inspiration from all of the world’s spiritual texts and teachers, said a news release explaining the placement of the banner.
“Our decision to place the banner this year is a response to widespread anti-Islamic rhetoric and acts of hate,” explained Reverend Blanchard.
“It is a reminder to Muslims in the North Country that their way of religion has the respect and support of this congregation. The banner affirms the principle of religious freedom within our country, and the value of religious diversity within our local communities.”
The Unitarian Universalist Church, 3 1/2 East Main St., welcomes all to Sunday services and religious education for children at 10:30 a.m. To learn more visit www.uucantonny.org.