Muslim devotees offer Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
Muslim devotees offer Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, April 10, 2024.(Photo | AP)

Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Fitr in the shadow of Gaza’s misery

Preachers in their sermons called on people to pray for Muslims in Gaza who were suffering after six months of war.

ISTANBUL: Muslims around the world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday Wednesday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. But events were overshadowed by the worsening crisis in Gaza and Israel’s expected military offensive in Rafah city after six months of war.

“We should not forget our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” imam Abdulrahman Musa said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “They have been subjected to unjustified aggression and a lot of violence (as) the world is watching in silence.”

In a holiday message, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent support to Gaza, which he called a “bleeding wound on the conscience of humanity.”

In Istanbul, thousands of worshipers gathered at the Aya Sofya Mosque for prayers, some carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans in support of people in Gaza, where the United Nations and partners warn that more than a million people are at threat of imminent famine and little aid is allowed in.

Elsewhere, people were grateful for the plenty they had after a month of fasting and reflection. Before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, markets around the world teemed with shoppers. Residents poured out of cities to return to villages to celebrate with loved ones.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, nearly three-quarters of the population were traveling for the annual homecoming known locally as “mudik.”

“This is a right moment to reconnect, like recharging energy that has been drained almost a year away from home,” said civil servant Ridho Alfian, who lives in the Jakarta area and was traveling to Lampung province at the southern tip of Sumatra island.

For Arini Dewi, Eid al-Fitr is a day of victory from economic difficulties during Ramadan. “I’m happy in celebrating Eid holiday despite the surge of food prices,” said the mother of two.

Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, was flooded with devotees offering morning prayers.

Preachers in their sermons called on people to pray for Muslims in Gaza who were suffering after six months of war.

“This is the time for Muslims and non-Muslims to show humanitarian solidarity, because the conflict in Gaza is not a religious war, but a humanitarian problem,” said Jimly Asshiddiqie, who chairs the advisory board of the Indonesian Mosque Council.

In Berlin, worshipers reflected the world, coming from Benin, Ghana, Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.

“It’s a day where we feel grateful for everything we have here, and think and give to those who are poor, facing war and have to go hungry,” said Azhra Ahmad, a 45-year-old mother of five.

In Pakistan, authorities deployed more than 100,000 police and paramilitary forces to maintain security at mosques and marketplaces.

In Malaysia, ethnic Malay Muslims performed morning prayers at mosques nationwide just weeks after socks printed with the word “Allah” at a convenience store chain sparked a furor. Many found it offensive to associate the word with feet or for it to be used inappropriately.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim called for unity and reconciliation in his message on the eve of Eid, saying no groups should be sidelined based on religion or any other reason.

“We must be firm, resolute and unwavering in our commitment to foster values and build a dignified nation,” he said. “However, let us not take this as a license or opportunity to insult, undermine, or damage the cultural practices and way of life of others.”

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