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Is the USPS Issuing a New Christmas Stamp for Muslims?

Fiction: The email that’s being circulated about this stamp is one of many urban legends. Since this concern creeps up from time to time, we’ve gathered information that we hope will be helpful (1)

The stamp described in the email exists, although it is neither new, nor a Christmas stamp: It is a five-year-old USPS Holiday Series stamp commemorating two Islamic holidays that have no connection to Christmas. The EID postage stamp was introduced by the United States Postal Service (at the then-current 34-cent rate) as part of their Holiday Celebrations Series on September 1, 2001, just ten days before the September 11 terrorist attacks. The EID stamp is often mischaracterized as a “Christmas stamp” even though it has nothing to do with Christmas other than that it is part of a series of U.S. postage stamps commemorating several diverse celebrations (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving) that generally occur around the November-December “holiday season.” (The USPS Holiday Series also commemorates celebrations that occur at other times of the year).

As the USPS describes the EID stamp:
The Eid stamp commemorates the two most important festivals – or eids – in the Islamic calendar: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other “Eid mubarak,” the phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp. “Eid mubarak” translates literally as “blessed festival,” and can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed.” This phrase can be applied to both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

The word “eid” is roughly equivalent to the English word “celebration” or “festival.” The three-day Eid Al-Fitr celebrates the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan; the three-day Eid Al-Adha commemorates the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael in response to God’s command, and it marks the end of Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. (In 2006, Eid Al-Fitr began October 23, and Eid Al-Adha on December 29.) The EID stamp is an ordinary first-class postage stamp; all proceeds from its sale go to the USPS, not to any Muslim-related groups or organizations. (Therefore, boycotting the EID stamp would have no financial impact on anyone.) The EID stamp was reissued by the USPS in October 2002 at the newer 37-cent first class rate and again in the 39-cent denomination in October 2006. President Bush has extended official greetings, issued messages, and participated in commemorations of both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (even after the September 11 attacks) and the White House web site promotes the EID stamps as well. Furthermore, Hallmark produces various holiday cards celebrating Eid al-Fitr.

(1) Most of this information was found at snopes.com.


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