Shia Rights Watch illuminated New York streets in preparation for Eid al- Adha. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, Shia Rights Watch congratulated Muslims and non-Muslims alike on the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, through a never – before televised broadcast in Times Square, New York, one of the busiest locations in the United States. The Shia-based broadcast was the first of its kind.
The broadcast came parallel to the airing of words from the Shia Theologian, Sayed Sadiq Shirazi who stated, “Peaceful coexistence comes from mutual understanding and forgiveness; thrive to achieve the peace you seek.”
Sayed Sadiq Shirazi is a prominent leader of Shia Islam both in the West and in the East. He is a leading voice in the study of theology and one of the most prominent independent religious leaders in the world. His call for global Shia unity void of cultural and political attachments has led to substantial growth in his followership in the United States and Europe in the past decade.
Shia Rights Watch believes the televised broadcasts are a direct counter to anti-Islamic rhetoric. The message of peace supports the image of an inclusive Islam as a religion of mutual understanding and nonviolence. It serves as a message for both Muslims and non-Muslims. For members of the Islamic faith, the promotion of Eid serves as a reminder of their role as advocates of non-violence. And for those who are not of the Muslim community, Eid promotions highlight the values of their Muslim brothers and sisters and serve as a reminder of their multicultural nation.
Moreover, public broadcast communicates prosocial expectations across cultures. By promoting religious celebrations, not only can non-Muslims become aware of religious traditions of the Muslim community members, Muslims themselves can be empowered to share their religious heritage with the larger society in which they live.
Similar efforts have taken place in other areas of the United States. Advocacy for religious freedom has led to the recognition of Islamic traditions in schools and work-places. Schools in many counties in states such as New York and Virginia grant leave in addition to congratulating their students with custom Eid messages. Companies and corporations allow their Muslim employees time off to attend Eid prayers.
Shia Rights Watch continues its efforts to pioneer the promotion of diversity through education at local and international levels. The organization strives to advance peace-efforts in hopes of building a world in which minority groups can support each other’s wellbeing.