Normally in the media, news articles focus on what the Muslim minority of a country wants the majority to do for them: allow them headscarves or days off for Islamic holidays, framing them as “special privileges.” This narrative colors Muslims as an obstinate and tantrum-throwing bunch that really just want things done their way, rather than to simply have an equal chance at integrating their faith into their life, like everyone else in a non-Muslim majority country gets to do.
Yesterday (or today, depending on where you live) marked Eid al Adha, the holiday marking the end of Hajj. Eid coverage in the media is more of the same: “How dare workers get Eid off work instead of Christmas? Who do they think they are?”
This eid, we are given a reprieve from the “special privileges” fixation, treated instead to a story about what Muslims are doing for their community.
Traditionally at eid celebrations, a cow is slaughtered and its meat is distributed to the poor. But in New Delhi, Dar-ul-Uloom, a leading Islamic authority, has asked Muslims not to slaughter cows, out of respect for their Hindu countrypeople. Hindus consider cows sacred animals. Instead, the Islamic authority suggests using other animals, such as lambs, that are approved by Shari’ah.
This is a grand gesture. More than that, it’s part of a healing process that includes toning down eid celebrations; though India seemed hopelessly torn apart just a couple of weeks ago, Indian Muslims are pulling together with other Indians to help heal their country and the people they share it with.