Chicago Police Department (Inventorchris/Flickr. 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0)

On the evening of July 27,  thousands of Muslims in Chicago received confirmation that Ramadan has ended and Eid al-Fitr has begun. Although Chicago has many Muslim communities- including but not limited to Bosnian, Palestinian, African-American, Nigerian, and hundreds of converts, one community in particular has an annual tradition of celebrating Eid al-Fitr in a public way. What began as a celebratory atmosphere of musical instruments, dancing, and henna- ended with one arrest, and dozens of police cars and patrol officers harassing community members.
Devon Avenue, known to many Chicagoans for its Indian and Pakistani businesses, has a yearly Chaand Rat- popular in Pakistan and India as an open public celebration of the end of Ramadan, 30 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset. Typically, these celebrations include open-air markets, drumming, fireworks, food, and more. This year, a group of men gathered and played various drums and tambourines on the sidewalk in front of King Sweets. Women and girls lined up at the dozens of beauty shops and stores to get their hands and arms decorated in henna, while families lined up on the streets and sidewalks to watch the fireworks.



Celebrations began around 11pm, and shortly after fireworks began going off, Chicago Police SUV’s began slowly creeping in on the community’s celebrations. The first few vehicles drove by slowly and asked people to “get off the street” on the speaker, which many quickly did. However, the crowd began growing larger and larger as more musicians came to play their drums, dancing began, and more fireworks went off. In the video below, you will see a CPD officer grabbing and talking to a Muslim man, and seconds later more fireworks go off to the West of the street.


 

 

The sparkler the young man was holding is identical to the one this small child is holdingMinutes after this incident, a young man stood on a car and had a sparkler in his hand when he was arrested
The sparkler the young man was holding is identical to the one this small child is holding

Moments later, a young man stood on the hood of a car holding a sparkler.

He was immediately hit by a baton by one of the police officers, taken off the car hood and arrested. While this was happening, youth began chanting, “Free Free Palestine!” and ran towards the police in protest of the young man’s arrest. Below is a photo of the arrest along with audio recorded only a few feet away.

Chicago police later shut down portions of Devon Avenue. When asked why the street was closed, one officer claimed,

“it was getting really crazy over there.”

No one was reported injured, the danger was apparently Muslims having fun, setting off fireworks, and celebrating the biggest holiday of the year.

 

Note: All videos and audio were taken by the author at the site of the incident.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.


3 COMMENTS

  1. it is probably a nice custom to have such a party somewhere that doesn’t block emergency vehicles from using a major arterial street, and doesn’t keep other people not celebrating from getting any sleep all night long (like last year’s Eid).

    At least this year the hijinks wrapped up by about 3AM – better!

  2. mister devon: If folks had been in the street celebrating a Bulls title victory, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have gotten your undies in such a bunch. It’s the most important holiday of the year for Muslims, who lived in that neighborhood before you did, I suspect. Consider moving to Wrigleyville, where the color of the festivities may be more to your liking.

  3. I have seen young punks creating ruckus on Devon last years
    Yes we do have right to celebrate but with decorum and discipline
    We need to learn a lot as a community
    Why cant we do anything in order ?
    Some of out youth creates nuisance at almost all public gatherings
    be it chand raat aazadi or eid mela
    they should learn to behave and get their act together
    And yes I am a muslim and I condemn such behaviour

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