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As a supporter of interfaith relations, I find it easy to be dismayed by the constant drumbeat of needless, knee-jerk anti-Muslim rhetoric coming out of the political-media realm today. I’ve been looking at old films of Moses for my new book and read today that Cecil B. DeMille considered called his 1956 epic “Prince of Egypt.” Of course Dreamworks did that with their film in 1998. Does anyone think that would happen today in a post-9/11 world?
Anyway, just in time, a fabulously symbolic and wonderful gesture that is a mark of major progress. Starting tonight, and all through the weekend, the Empire State Building will be illuminated in the Muslim color of significance, green, to celebrate the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Green is used on many Muslim flags and is used to illuminate many minarets because for a desert people, it symbolizes the hope of emerging from the desert into an oasis.
Here’s a message from a friend who runs a society for American Muslims.
This weekend, the color green will illuminate the Manhattan skyline. On the evenings of October 12-14, the Empire State Building—located in the heart of New York City’s most famed tourist district and recently named “America’s Favorite Building”—will be lit in green to commemorate the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr.
We deeply appreciate this recognition of the American Muslim community by one of the United States’ most cherished landmarks and famous tourist destinations. This welcome gesture clearly demonstrates that the principles of understanding, mutual respect, and faith can remain vibrant aspects of our world. In celebrating together with the Muslims of New York City and the United States, the Empire State Building once again shows itself to be a powerful symbol in America’s most culturally vibrant city.
I’m proud to be a New Yorker this weekend.