This is an excerpt from the interview with a second-generation Muslim American, Z, about her opinion on other Muslim immigrants keeping their Islamic faith and values in New York City.
Q. As a second-generation Muslim immigrant, what is your opinion about other immigrants preserving their Islamic faith and practicing Eid as a national holiday in the American society? Do you think Muslim immigrants in NYC are able to celebrate Eid more freely? Why or Why Not?
A. “Well, first of all I’d like to address that all my answers are purely based on my experiences here in America thus it does not support any general popular opinion nor does it convey the thoughts of the Islamic immigrants here as a whole.
I feel that, growing up in both in Bangladesh and America has allowed to experience this holiday in both very different ways. Celebrating Eid in Bangladesh felt very much in the spirit- I was surrounded by close family and because the country was celebrating as a whole it felt very much like a holiday. Of course it’s very different in America.
For one, Eid isn’t a national holiday- that often means missing school to celebrate. Because school is very important to me, Eid often felt like a burden than a holiday. Also because I barely have any close family here, I ever got into the spirit of Eid. I never really had a passion to buy new clothes or go shopping simply because I knew what Eid was back in Bangladesh and it doesn’t really compare to the mediocre experience here in America. I don’t think other Muslim immigrants can celebrate Eid more freely here.
For one, Eid isn’t a one-day holiday- it last for several days. However here, we don’t get a week holiday to celebrate thus the most we can afford is a day off before we have to go back to work or classes. Also, in Bangladesh family members live relatively close to each other because we all tend to hail from the same cities. However here in New York, family/friends tend to be scattered all over the different boroughs or even states leaving very little time to actually visit and more spent on traveling.”