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Joy: Empire State Building Is Muslim Green

We put off remarking on this in the foolish hope that saner minds would prevail. But of course they did not.

From India’s Rediff:

Empire State Building goes green for Eid

October 13, 2007

For the first time in its history, the Empire State Building in New York was lit in green in celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.

It will be green till Sunday.

So far, the landmark tower has been lit in traditional colours every year only on the occasion of Christmas and the Jewish festival Hannukah. From this year on, lighting on Eid too will become an annual event.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world celebrate for three days to mark the end of Ramadan. In Islam, the colour green symbolizes a happy occasion.

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building was recently named America’s most favourite building in the poll conducted by American Institute of Architects.

What a beautiful thing, right?

Still, one wonders exactly why this was felt to be necessary.

New York City was founded by is still a city predominately comprised of Christians, so changing the lighting for Christmas makes sense.

New York is also home to more people of the Jewish persuasion than any other place on Earth, apart from Israel.

And despite what the article says, the Empire State building is also lit (and green) for St. Patrick’s Day. But again, there are more Irish in the city than there are in Dublin.

Indeed Polish holidays and even Gay Pride Weekend get similar treatment for the same demographic reasons.

But why celebrate an Islamic holiday?

Is it because a mere six years ago some Muslim fanatics killed 2,603 New Yorkers? 

Surely it can’t be to reward that heroic deed. Surely we can’t be that nihilistic.

Can we?

In Islam, the colour green symbolizes a happy occasion.

Let’s not kid ourselves.

The color green symbolizes Islam.

As a matter of fact, it was Leona Helmsley who started lighting the Empire State Building with colors on a regular basis. And, typically, she used to control what colors were used and when with an iron hand.

Indeed, the ESB only began to be lit for Hanukkah ten years ago thanks to her:

From the New York Times:

Empire State Building To Glow for Hanukkah


December 11, 1997

The lights that bathe the Empire State Building will be turned blue and white on Hanukkah this year for the first time ever, thanks to a precocious 9-year-old girl from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and her unlikely ally, Leona Helmsley.

Two years ago, while her father was driving her home from her grandparents’ house in Brooklyn, Mallory Blair Greitzer gazed up at the blue lights shining on the top of the Empire State Building and wondered if the colors — the building is usually simply lit in white — were in honor of Hanukkah. They weren’t; it was the birthday of Frank Sinatra — ”Old Blue Eyes.”

A week or so later, the child again saw the building glowing blue and white. Hanukkah? No, the lights were a mournful reflection on the assassination of Yitzak Rabin.

Disappointed, Mallory talked to her teachers at a Reform Jewish day school that she attends on the Upper West Side. She felt that a letter writing campaign or a petition could persuade the building’s management to turn the lights blue and white for Hanukkah.

But the letter campaign was never arranged, even though the lights on the famous landmark are often changed to mark major holidays (Christmas gets green and red), minor holidays (Pulaski Day gets red and white), special days (Gay Pride Weekend gets lavender), odd events (when Mrs. Helmsley went to jail a few years back they were shut off) and even to sell commercial products (M&M/Mars, a few years ago, had the lights on the 102-story building turned royal blue at sunset to announce blue M&M’s)…

Mallory’s final chance rested in a second letter her father wrote, directly to Mrs. Helmsley, whose company, Helmsley-Spear management, runs the building…

Surprisingly, Mrs. Helmsley overruled her staff and ordered that the building’s lights be turned to blue and white from the evening of Dec. 23 to the evening of Dec. 24…

But say what you will about the “queen of mean,” I doubt very much that she would have permitted this salute to Islam.

(By the way, note that the green lighting for the three days of Eid is planned to continue on into perpetuity. Whereas the commemorative “Tribute In Light” for the World Trade Center featured in the photo above has long since been extinguished, except for on the anniversary of the attack.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, October 13th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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