A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Muslim Stamp


Q: Did Obama order creation of a postage stamp to honor a Muslim holiday?

A: The first class stamp honoring Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha was first issued eight years ago. Obama has followed Bush’s practice of reaching out to Muslims on Ramadan.

FULL QUESTION

Is the following e-mail, which was sent to me today on Sept. 5, 2009, true? It contained an image of the stamp with the following complete text below:

Now President Obama has directed the United States Postal Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a new commemorative 42 Cent First Class Holiday Postage Stamp..

If there is only ONE thing you forward today… let it be this!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am Flight 103!
[EET ]

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military Barracks in Saudi Arabia !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001 !

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Now President Obama has directed the United States Postal Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a new commemorative 42 Cent First Class Holiday Postage Stamp..

REMEMBER to adamantly & vocally BOYCOTT this stamp, when you are purchasing your stamps at the post office.

All you have to say is "No thank you, I do not want that Muslim Stamp on my letters!"

To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER ~

Pass this along to every Patriotic AMERICAN that you know and let’s get the word out !!!
[/EET]

FULL ANSWER

Obama had nothing to do with this stamp, which was first announced during President George W. Bush’s administration, on Aug. 1, 2001, honoring two Muslim holidays, including Eid al-Fitr, the first day following the month of Ramadan, a period of fasting and religious observances. The stamp first came out at 34 cents, the prevailing first class rate at the time. It has been reissued several times whenever that rate increased.

It was part of the Postal Service’s "Holiday Celebration Series" and the Postal Service took full credit, without any mention of a White House role, then or now. "This is a proud moment for the Postal Service, the Muslim community, and Americans in general as we issue a postage stamp to honor and commemorate two important Islamic celebrations," Azeezaly S. Jaffer, vice president, public affairs and communications for the Postal Service, said in a 2001 news release.

That was more than a month before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. However, the stamp was reissued as a 37-cent stamp on Oct. 10, 2002. And that time, the Bush White House posted an item promoting the special stamp, as part of an effort to reach out to the world Muslim community on Ramadan.

Bush himself marked Eid al-Fitr with an address at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2002, in which he praised the spirit of the day:

George W. Bush, Dec. 5, 2002: The spirit behind this holiday is a reminder that Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide. Islam affirms God’s justice and insists on man’s moral responsibility. This holiday is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefitted mankind.

Bush issued statements of personal greetings to Muslims in connection with the Eid al-Fitr holiday not only in 2002, but again in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and his final year in office, 2008. (In 2004 we couldn’t find a Bush message honoring Eid al-Fitr, but Bush did follow his usual practice of honoring Ramadan that year, even as he was campaigning for reelection.)

According to the Postal Service, the Eid stamp was reissued again in 2006, with a 39-cent denomination. It was issued a fourth time in 2007,  at 41 cents, and a fifth time in 2008, at 42 cents.

And it was issued most recently – for the sixth time – on Sept. 3, at the current first-class rate of 44 cents.

That was a few days after Obama had issued a statement honoring the start of Ramadan, which began Aug. 22. It remains to be seen if Obama will also issue greetings to Muslims at Eid al-Fitr, as Bush did. Eid al-Fitr comes this year on Sunday, Sept. 20, according to the Fiqh Council of North America.

Footnote:  We’re not aware of any calls to "boycott" this stamp during the Bush administration, but the idea is pointless whoever is in office. It is a commemorative stamp, available only on request.

-Brooks Jackson

Correction, Feb. 2: An alert reader pointed out that the stamp was first announced on Aug. 1, 2001, but was issued a month later. We have corrected the story to reflect that.

Sources

"U.S. POSTAGE STAMP CELEBRATING MUSLIM HOLIDAY TO BE ISSUED BY UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE; Eid Stamp Part of Holiday Celebrations Series," United State Postal Service. news release. 1 Aug 2001.

The Postal Store, United States Postal Service. description of 44-cent EID stamp, accessed 11 Sep 2009.

"About the stamp" U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, archived page from George W. Bush White House Web site, 2002. Accessed 11 Sep 2009.

"Ramadan, 2002," U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, archived page from George W. Bush White House Web site, 2002. Accessed 11 Sep 2009.

"President Commemorates Eid al-Fitr; Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr, The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
" Transcript. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, archived page from George W. Bush White House Web site. 5 Dec 2002.

"Remarks of President Barack Obama; Ramadan Message, Washington, DC" The White House. 21 Aug 2009.

Siddiqi, Muzammil "First day of Ramadan will be Saturday, August 22, 2009" Figh Council of North America. undated Web page. accessed 11 Sep 2009.