Just ten days before the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon – reportedly linked to Islamic militants – the U.S. Postal Service issued a new stamp celebrating Islam.
Islamic commemorative stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service
The postage entitled “EID Greetings” may appear to some as a sinister spoof, given that, when read backwards, EID spells “die.” To the contrary, officials say it reflects the agency’s real efforts to “reach out to all of our diverse populations.”
Postal officials say the EID stamp recognizes 7 million Muslims in America. According to the USPS website, the EID “commemorates the two most important festivals in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.” Eid al-Adha, continues the website, “was celebrated on March 6, and Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated on December 16. The first of the Muslim lunar month of Shawwal, Eid al-Fitr signifies ‘The Feast of Breaking the Fast’ and marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Eid al-Fitr is observed by offering special alms with prayers, feasting, exchanging gifts, and visiting family and friends.”
The stamp was designed by Mohamed Zakariya of Arlington, Virginia. According to the website, the “Eid mubarak” phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed.”
“It’s a very popular stamp,” remarks Cathy Yarosky, spokesperson for the Postal Service. Yarosky dismisses any suggestion of bad timing for the stamp’s release, stating her office hasn’t received any complaints about it.
“It’s a part of our commemorative stamp program. It’s on sale now. We’re aware of the events that took place, but we have no plans to take it off the series. We don’t understand why we would,” Yarosky tells WorldNetDaily.
The Holiday Celebrations series has been around for many years. In 1999, the Postal Service added Kwanzaa and Hanukkah stamps, which commemorate African-American and Jewish holidays. A much-heralded Cinco de Mayo stamp, which commemorates Mexican Independence was kicked off in 1998 at joint ceremonies in San Antonio, Texas and Mexico City. The Mexican Postal Service also launched a commemorative stamp that year based on the U.S. design. Still to come this year according to Yarosky, are Thanksgiving and Santa stamps.
According to Yarosky, the EID has been in the works for approximately three years. She further explains that a 13-member citizen advisory committee meets four times a year to review approximately 50,000 stamp suggestions that come into the agency. The committee reviews the suggestions and “compares them with certain criteria” in making a decision whether to go forward.
76 million EID stamps have been printed. That compares with 65 million for the Hanukkah stamp, 95 million for Kwanzaa, 100 million for Uncle Sam and 110 million for the recently released Lucille Ball stamp, commemorating the late comedienne.
In response to WorldNetDaily’s inquiry as to the impact of last week’s attacks on sales of the EID and whether adverse sales would cause a discontinuation, Yarosky responded that the agency doesn’t track individual stamps.
“We’re a service for the American people. We’re not supposed to make a profit.”
The EID can be purchased at local post offices across the country.