WASHINGTON: The American Muslim community spent years urging the
United States Postal Service (USPS) to produce a stamp commemorating
Islamic holidays, as it does for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Such
a stamp was finally unveiled on September 1, but already, the Muslim
community is campaigning for its survival.
The USPS produced 75 million copies of the stamp, and all must be sold
by the end of the year in order to ensure its continued production. The
fear within the Muslim community, however, is that backlash from the
attacks of September 11 will not only prevent people from buying the
stamps, it will prevent the USPS from promoting or displaying them.
The American Muslim Council is leading the charge to alert Americans to
the existence of the stamp and its availability. Members are talking to
the press - and receiving coverage in The Washington Post, The New York
Times, and several wire services - as well as reaching out to both
Muslim and interfaith gatherings. "There is a lot of understanding of
(the problem) in other faiths in other communities," said director of
communications Faiz Rehman.
One of the council's worst fears was realized early last month when a
USPS poster promoting its many holiday-themed stamps hit the street
noticeably lacking the Muslim stamp. Many suspected the slight to be
intentional, but USPS spokesmen claimed otherwise, and said the
oversight would be quickly corrected. Indeed, all 40,000 of the posters
have been recalled, and are to be replaced. The American Muslim Council
took no chances, however, and encouraged all its members to write
letters to postmaster general John Potter.
The stamp, commonly referred to as the Eid stamp, commemorates the
Islamic holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Across the front are the
words "eid mubarak," translated as "blessed festival."