Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Watch the video: We Are Global Voices!

We report on 167 countries. We translate in 35 languages. We are Global Voices. Watch the video »

Over 800 of us from all over the world work together to bring you stories that are hard to find by yourself. But we can’t do it alone. Even though most of us are volunteers, we still need your help to support our editors, our technology, outreach and advocacy projects, and our community events.

Donate now »
GlobalVoices in Learn more »

USA: Eid Postage Stamp Provokes Hate in Tennessee

eid

A 2008 version of the stamp, before the price increase

As Muslims in the United States celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the celebration which marks the end of Ramadan, a pernicious chain e-mail is making its rounds.  The e-mail falsely claims that President Obama has issued a new postage stamp commemorating the two Eid celebrations and urges readers to boycott it, naming several terrorist attacks on the U.S. over the past twenty years.  The full text of the e-mail can be seen in this post by Missives from Marx, who expresses frustration at the letter, saying:

I received the following email forward today from a family member. It is because of stuff like this that I’m going to have to spend four weeks of my Western Religions course deconstructing Muslim stereotypes. This is why critical thinking has to be an essential component of all my courses.

As it turns out, there's nothing new about the letter, or the stamp.  About.com explains that the letter has been around since at least 2002, while the stamp itself was issued on September 1, 2001.

Aziz Poonwalla, on the BeliefNet blog City of Brass, explains the history of the e-mail:

Versions of the email, which has been making the rounds for years, have been repeatedly debunked before, but it still persists. I've blogged extensively about the history of the Eid stamp, the controversy that accompanied it when it was introduced (mostly from conservative Republicans), and the defense of the stamp by President Bush and Speaker Hastert. In a nutshell, the stamp was introduced on September 1st 2001, ten days before the 9-11 attacks, during the Bush Administration. Mayor Piper joins a long list of conservative politicians who have no objection to stamps commemorating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, even teh Chinese New year – but a stamp devoted to the muslim holiday of Eid is singled out as a threat, requiring response from “patriotic” Americans?

A post on the Clarksville Online, a blog for the town of Clarksville, Tennessee, explains why the e-mail has made major headlines this year:

Clarksville Tennessee’s Mayor, Johnny Piper has sent an inflammatory anti-Islamic email to employees of the city, encouraging them to boycott a stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service…

…Mayor Piper has since attempted to defend his actions, but they are simply indefensible. Muslims are a integral part of this country. They serve honorably in our armed forces, defending our nation, and our freedoms. No one should be treated like a second class citizens based on their religious beliefs, or the actions of a radical fringe. This incident created by our Mayor  has been an embarrassment for our City, our State, and our Country.

Sheila Musaji has been tracking chain e-mails about the stamp for The American Muslim (TAM) since 2005, and in an update, remarks on Mayor Piper's abhorrent actions:

I’m certain the good mayor was just as surprised about President Obama’s White House Iftar.

And, of course the final recourse of all bigots:  “I have some good Muslim friends,” he immediately added.”

Perhaps those good Muslim friends might enlighten him as to why THIS (PDF) is offensive.

  • http://khaldounjarbou.wordpress.com Khaldoun Jarbou

    i don’t believe that untill now there’s people don’t recognize the deffirence between Islam and Islamic movments, and the movments that are fighting for there right in living and the movments that use violence to rip this right from others.

    the action that Mayor Piper has took is not deffirent from what anti-non-muslims are aiming for. for me Mayor Piper is in the same category.

  • Abdu

    There will always be ignorant people who finds taste in hate. The majority of this great nation are good people who has respect and admiration for their fellow human being. After all, the greatness of America is due to its unity of multi-cultural societies.
    Eid Mubarek to All

  • azmat

    For muslim this stamp may have some meaning but for all others it has a very negative meaning. Because Islam stands for terrorism, sex, subjugation, violence, bigotry and abuse of human rights, women are not even considered as human being according to your prophet; they are means of sex and making babies. If Islam was a peaceful religion we will all be celebrating. Thats why this stamp is not worth patronizing.

    • http://jilliancyork.com Jillian C. York

      Azmat,

      Negative things (and positive ones) can be said about any religion or doctrine. Islam does not deserved to be singled out, and its adherents deserve to celebrate their holidays peacefully.

  • azmat

    Ms. York
    No one has ever accused Islam for being a religion of holiness and righteousness. If you read Quran and Hadith its all negative and disturbing. The eid stamp symbolizes those absurd values of the pre-islamic moon god Allah. Like I said before if Islam stood for anything good or peaceful I will be first one to celebrate with them. Unfortunately, it does not represent any American values. For most Americans it has a very negative appeal. It will remain so unless there is a great big reformation in Islam to convince people otherwise, but I don’t think its going to happen any time soon. If this stamp makes muslims happy thats fine.

    • http://jilliancyork.com Jillian C. York

      I have read the Qur’an, thank you. I am not a religious person, but I find just as much good and evil in it as I do in the Bible. I don’t see a big difference, really.

  • Abdu

    Azmat,
    Islam does not stand for terrorism, you are saying that becasue you were told that. why don’t you find out yourself. Educate yourself about Islam and what it stands for.
    your statment proves to me that you have luck of understanding about the greatness of Islam.
    hate should not have place in our society not matter which religion you belong to.
    Peace!

    • j. Kactuz

      Abdu…

      Your answer is not good enough and shows that you are as ignorant of your religion as you claim others to be.

      Do you not think there are hundreds of verses in the Quran that say bad things about non-Muslims? Have you not noticed the lessons taken from the life of your prophet, regarding ill treatment of infidels, as recorded in the ahadeeth?

      Why should non-Muslims believe that people like you have any goodwill toward us when you pretend that these odious hehaviors are unrelated to Islam and its teachings? or when you tells us things that are easily proven not to be true?

      I can even quote Islamic writings that say “I have made victorious with terror” Or maybe you would like a verse: 9:111 Think about it, explain, ignore it – your choice – but please don’t say that some non-Muslims don’t know Islam. As to “hate not having a place in our society” well, you must not live on earth.

      Kactuz

      • Hadeeyah

        [9:111] GOD has bought from the believers their lives and their money in exchange for Paradise. Thus, they fight in the cause of GOD, willing to kill and get killed. Such is His truthful pledge in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran – and who fulfills His pledge better than GOD? You shall rejoice in making such an exchange. This is the greatest triumph.

        The word terror is not mentioned in this Sura, know what you speak before you speak.

      • wlinden

        Like “The closest to you are those who are called Christians”?

  • Abdu

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Quran was sent to all Human being to guide us to the true path in which we will find peace & happines in this world and greater reward and everlasting Joy for the life to come. But by no means to be forced to any one who does not want to beleive! it is up to individuals to accept or reject.

    • j. Kactuz

      You did not answer the statement, but recited meaningless statistics. OK. Islam is the fastest growing religion. True. Islam is the most violent religion. True. Islamic countries are cronic human rights abusers. True. All equally true. So what?

      In case you don’t know, the Quran was given to Arabic-speaking (“in your own language”) males in the 7th century. Did the Chinese get it in the 8th century? The American Indians before 1492? Doesn’t sound like “all humans” to me..

      As to “everlasting peace and joy” I refer you again to verse 9:111. Tell me, Mr Abdu, how do you reconcile “peace and joy” with “kill and be killed”?

      One last thing. About “not be forced… to accept or reject” have you ever heard of the apostasy laws that are found in most Muslim countries?

      Feel free to not to reply or change the subject….

      You know, Abdu, I really think that Muslims need to be exposed to more criticism of Islam, if for no other reason than to improve their debating skills. I say this kindly as an old man to probably a younger one. Because Muslims cannot express any doubts about anything in the Quran, they are intellectually paralized and morally committed to undefensible positions that are easily destroyed. They have to pretend that the Quran says one thing when in fact it says another, or maybe it says two things in direct contradiction to each other. But then again, The quran itself says parts of it don’t make sense (3:7). Because Muslims refuse to consider the problems in Islam, they cannot change. Because Islam cannot reform, bad times are coming. Blame whoever you want, I blame Islam.

      Have a good day.

      Kactuz

  • Shar1

    Hate fuels hate. Hate is colorless and of no religion. It is pushed by humans to spread differences. For some they feel better about themselves by putting down others. Marvin Gaye was right. Only love can conquor hate.

  • Abdu

    Islam is a perfect religion. thus need not reform and will not reform. Quran is a perfect book of our Lord, it was good for the past generation, it is good for the present generation and will be good for the coming many many generations. There will always be people who do disagree but that is there problem. we do not have to change to make them happy!

    • j. Kactuz

      A perfect book? and the sun sets into a field of mud, is that right?

      I assume you know what I am taking about – if not just say so and I’ll give you the verse.

      See, people, this is what I am talking about. Mr Addu is not untypical. Words, reason, honesty, decency are meaningless to people who put blind dogma above all else.

      Thank you, Abdu, for your help in this matter.

      Kactuz

  • Julio Mexico

    Here we go another Greengo talking bad about Islam! I’m new moslem and i found myself good relgion, I love Islam, it is true religion of God. Here in Mexico we have a lot people turning into Islam they are happy with their new life. do not you worry islam to spreading all over the world cause is the only true relgion of God. you guys talking bad about islam you do not know what you talking about you are the same people talking bad about black people in your country so stop talking bad
    good day my freinds

  • Julio Mexico

    People like Katuz, Azmat and the Mayor of Tennesse do not like people who are different than them. They think only people who share their culture, religion and race are the one who deserve respect! i call that hate, i pray for you that my Lord to help you to take the hate out of your heart. love people for who they are.
    thanks amigos,
    your freind from mexico

    • http://deleted J. Kactuz

      Julio,

      Solo lo que necessita Mexico — mas odio y violencia!

      So you pray to a god that delights in pouring boiling water on the heads of infidels and peeling their skin off (and then putting it back on again so he can torture them again by peeling it off again) — And then you talk about ‘hate’. Do you even know what I am referring to?

      Why don’t you comment on my arguments? Tell me your interpretation of 9:111.

      Let me ask you, have you actually read the Quran? Can you understand it? Do words mean anything to you?

      Here, try this: Has leido actualmente el coran? Son el odio y la violencia em la Coran problemas para used? Has leido las tradiciones sobre la vida del tu profeta? Esta de acuerdo con las ataques, redadas y muertes e otros acciones inmorales de mohammed (saqueo, tortura, esclavitud y estupro)? Puede responder en ingles, espanol, portugues o italiano, sino responde a la pergunta. OK?

      Kactuz

      • Julio Mexico

        Kactuz,
        read this….

        And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allah, and that which has been revealed to you and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah: They will not sell the Revelations of Allah for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and Allah is swift in account.”
        {Holy Quran 3:199}

World regions

Countries

Languages