Skip to comments.U.S. Muslims Push Stamp As Symbol of Acceptance
Posted on 11/19/2001 8:29:06 PM PST by JohnHuang2
November 20, 2001
U.S. Muslims Push Stamp As Symbol of Acceptance
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
or five years, American Muslims tried to persuade the Postal Service to issue a stamp commemorating a Muslim holiday. After all, they reasoned, there were stamps for Christmas and Hanukkah and even for Kwanzaa and Cinco de Mayo. To press the case, Muslim children wrote more than 5,000 letters to the postmaster general, and Muslim groups lobbied Congress.
They finally got their wish. The first American stamp with an Islamic theme was issued on Sept. 1, 10 days before Islamic terrorists crashed airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Now American Muslims want to ensure that the stamp, which they saw as a symbol of their acceptance by Americans, does not become a symbol of their rejection. They are beginning a campaign to persuade people to buy the stamps so the post office does not drop them.
The new stamp, featuring gold Arabic calligraphy on a lapis background, commemorates the two most important Muslim holidays: Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan fasting, and Eid al-Adha, at the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca.
"Our campaign is to make the Eid postage stamp permanent," said Aly Abuzaakouk, executive director of the American Muslim Council, which helped lead the drive to create the stamp. "For Muslims it is as if their country has recognized them."
The stamp was designed by Mohamed Zakariya of Arlington, Va., a noted Islamic calligrapher.
The post office issued 75 million of the stamps, more than the usual 55 million for a new design, and postal officials say it is too early to tell how well they are selling.
If the stamps come close to selling out in the first year, they will be reissued, like the stamps commemorating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, said Cathy Yarosky, a Postal Service spokeswoman. If they do not, they will be discontinued, Ms. Yarosky said.
American Muslims have rallied to promote the stamp. They complained recently when the post office printed a poster advertising holiday stamps that omitted the Eid stamp. Postal officials apologized last week, saying the omission was a mistake, and the post office reprinted the poster with the Eid stamp included.
Asma Gull Hasan, author of "American Muslims: The New Generation," sent e-mail messages to friends asking them to buy stamps instead of holiday or birthday gifts for her.
"The people of the world may not like some of the things we do, and Osama bin Laden may hate us," Ms. Hasan said, "but we can show them by having the Eid stamp sell out that diversity and difference are our strengths."
The stamp's designer, Mr. Zakariya, said: "I have an Arab friend who is going to use it for Christmas cards and Jewish friends who are going to use it for their holidays. People want to make a statement."
Smile ,Allah loves you?
And, if I should ever happen to come across an unused one, I will take it to the nearest post office and gladly stand in line for however long it takes to trade it for a real American stamp.
By refusing to police themselves, muslims have earned a "not welcome here" in my world. Every account I read points out how muslims count themselves as muslim first and American second.
^Jewish Veterans' Group Fights for Commemorative Stamp<
^By ROGER C. SMITH=
^Capital News Service=
WASHINGTON - Braving frigid weather, about 75 Jewish war veterans rallied outside the U.S. Postal Service Friday, demanding a commemorative stamp in honor of their organization's 100th anniversary.
"We want the U.S. to recognize our service," said Jerry Gillman, a member of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A and a Silver Spring resident.
"We shouldn't even have to be out here," added Gillman, who served in Europe in World War II. "We deserve a stamp because we're the oldest veterans' organization in the country."
The group, which numbers nearly 60,000 nationwide, was formed in 1896 after an inaccurate statement by Mark Twain claiming that no Jews fought in the Civil War. In fact, three of those serving earned congressional medals of honor, members said.
Three years ago, JWV began to push for a commemorative stamp by submitting a request to the U.S. Postal Service. In response, Postmaster General Marvin Runyon asked the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to consider a stamp on their behalf.
The 15-member committee, which includes actor Karl Malden and former Notre Dame basketball coach Richard "Digger" Phelps, unanimously recommended against the request.
The committee based its decision on a policy not to issue stamps in honor of religious organizations or individuals. Members also decided it was more appropriate to issue a stamp honoring all veterans rather than a single group, said postal spokesman Robin Wright.
However, Wright acknowledged that commemorative stamps have been issued on behalf of several other veterans' groups, including the Veterans Administration, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Wright said Runyon stands by the committee's recommendation.
But the veterans' group has vowed to continue lobbying Congress - which chartered the group in 1984 - and putting pressure on Runyon.
"Runyon has the authority to issue a stamp," said Bob Zweiman, former JWV national commander and chairman of its 100th anniversary commission. Zweiman said JWV will continue writing letters and contacting congressmen until a stamp is issued.
Last year, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution submitted by Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and others in support of a JWV postage stamp. A concurrent resolution, offered by Rep. James Talent, a Missouri Republican and the son of a JWV member, did not make it out of a House committee.
David Hymes, JWV national commander, said Runyon and the committee "believe that they know better than the entire U.S. Senate" whether or not to issue a stamp.
Jack Clark, vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said a stamp for JWV is long overdue.
"This stamp would honor not only Jewish veterans, it would honor all veterans," he said. -30-
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN IN 1995.
2001 - I think American Jewish War Veterans who fought for America's defense and freedom are still waiting to be honored with a stamp ...
Shame on the USPS in this matter.