Hundreds of thousands of British Muslims gather to celebrate Eid

Hundreds of thousands of British Muslims gather to celebrate Eid by breaking their fast at the end of Ramadan

  • Some 106,000 Muslims descended on Small Heath Park in Birmingham today for Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations
  • People marked the end of the month of Ramadan with prayers at 9am before fairgrounds and miniature golf
  • ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’ will see Muslims eat their first daylight meal in a month and give money to poor 

Hundreds of thousands of British Muslims have gathered to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr – a religious holiday that marks the end of the month of Ramadan.

Events are being held around the UK today, with 106,000 worshippers at one event alone in Small Heath Park, Birmingham. Those present prayed together ahead of their first daylight meal following a month of fasting.

Thousands are meanwhile expected at a two-day event at Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield, Greater Manchester.

The event in the Midlands is the largest gathering of Muslims in Europe joined together for the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast.’

Families – some having travelled to Birmingham from as far as the US – got to their knees in unison for prayers at 9am this morning.

The Celebrate Eid event, hosted by Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre, is now in its seventh year and has seen growing numbers since its first major event in 2012, where 12,000 people attended

Muhammad, 4, and Sanaa, 6, (left) arrive for the Eid celebrations in Small Heath Park, Birmingham. Police in Greater Manchester are appealing for respect from visitors to the city during the Muslim religious holiday

They then enjoyed numerous stalls and activities available – which included fairground rides, miniature golf and laser clay pigeon shooting.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a religious celebration where Muslims thank Allah for the strength and self-control they were given while refraining from eating, drinking, smoking or sexual activity from dawn to dusk.

The three-day holiday begins today after Saudi Arabia declared the end of the ninth month of the Umm al-Qura luna calendar.  

Each country relies on a sighting of the crescent moon to tell them when Ramadan ends. In Indonesia and Malaysia Eid will not begin until tomorrow.

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and marks the month the Qur’an was revealed to the profit Muhammad. 

Two young worshippers eat ice cream during Eid celebrations. The three-day holiday begins today after Saudi Arabia declared the end of the ninth month of the Umm al-Qura luna calendar. But other countries rely on a sighting of the crescent moon to tell them when Ramadan ends. In Indonesia and Malaysia Eid will not begin until tomorrow

Worshippers from across the globe crammed into Small Heath Park, in Birmingham, to pray together before their first daylight meal after a month of fasting

The Celebrate Eid event, hosted by Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre, is now in its seventh year and has seen growing numbers since its first major event in 2012, where 12,000 people attended.

Last year 140,000 Muslims took part in the celebrations.

A spokesperson for Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre, said: ‘This celebration is one of the most important in the Islamic religious calendar and it’s an opportunity for us all to come together in peace and unity.

‘We’re all overwhelmed that so many people from different faiths and from across the world have travelled to Birmingham for this year’s Celebrate Eid.

‘We’ve been working for months with five local Mosques and our charity partner Human Appeal to organise the community for a memorable day of prayer, games and fun.’ 

Families – some who had travelled to Birmingham from as far as the USA – got to their knees in unison for morning prayers at 9am. Pictured, three children stand while their families pray to Allah

Families enjoy Eid celebrations despite damp weather. The three-day holiday begins today after Saudi Arabia declared the end of the ninth month of the Umm al-Qura luna calendar

Each country relies on a sighting of the crescent moon to tell them when Ramadan ends. In Indonesia and Malaysia Eid will not begin until tomorrow

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and marks the month the Qur’an, the religious text of Islam, was revealed to the profit Muhammad

After the religious month of dawn to dusk fasting, the largest gathering of Muslims in Europe flocked to the city for the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’

This year Ramadan began on Sunday, May 5 and ends today on the first day of Shawwal – the tenth month of the lunar based Islamic calendar. 

And police in Greater Manchester are appealing for respect from visitors to the city during the Muslim religious holiday. 

Each year the Rusholme District and Platt Fields Park area of Manchester attracts thousands of people into the city who visit as part of the festivities.

Superintendent Dave Pester for the City of Manchester division, said: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our Muslim community Eid Mubarak.

‘I would also appeal to those visiting the area to enjoy the festivities in the most peaceful and responsible way.

‘We are aware of the expected increase vehicular traffic and that some will bring high performance sports cars during the celebrations and I urge everyone to participate in a safe manner. 

‘Our officers will play their part to ensure the communities and those visiting are kept safe and we will take action against those seen by traffic officers driving in anti-social or dangerous manner. 

‘There will be a number of road closures and traffic flow will be severely restricted during the celebrations.

They then descending on the numerous stalls and activities available – which included fairground rides, miniature golf and laser clay pigeon shooting

A spokesperson for Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre, said: ‘This celebration is one of the most important in the Islamic religious calendar and it’s an opportunity for us all to come together in peace and unity’

Eid-ul-Fitr is a religious celebration where Muslims thank Allah for the strength and self-control they were given while fasting

‘Our community police officers will be in the area supporting the events in Platt Field Park and Longsight Market, to provide extra reassurance to the community and engage with local residents. Any crime or antisocial behaviour will be dealt with swiftly so that there is minimal disruption to the community.

‘Eid is an important date in the Muslim calendar and we are extremely proud that the Rusholme and Longsight Districts are a focal point for Muslim communities throughout the UK. 

‘This festival traditionally attracts a large amount of visitors to Manchester and they will be given a warm welcome.’

If any members of the community would like to discuss any issues in relation to Eid, either before during or after the event, please call the Longsight Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0161 856 4223 or email [email protected] 

It comes as worshippers across the Middle East and beyond are also marking one of the most celebrated holidays for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims and traditionally a time for family and festivities. 

Many – including Muslims in western nations – began celebrations on Tuesday, but because its start date is based on the sighting of a new moon it varies from country to country and sometimes within the same nation.  

Millions of Muslims around the world gathered Tuesday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when followers fast from dawn until sunset (pictured, worshippers in Ethiopia)

Thousands gathered in Addis Ababa stadium, in the Ethiopian capital, on Tuesday morning to take part in prayers before spending the day feasting with their families and friends

This was the scene outside the Central Mosque in Moscow on Tuesday morning as thousands of Muslims began the three-day Eid celebration with solemn prayer

A flock of birds swoops over the heads of Libyan Muslim worshippers gathered in the Martyrs Square of the capital Tripoli

Thousands of worshippers gather in Small Heath Park, Birmingham, to take part in early-morning Eid prayers on Tuesday

Prayers held in Birmingham, England, for the start of Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday morning. Around 20 per cent of the city’s 1million residents identifies as Muslim

Turkey’s Muslims offer prayers during the first day of Eid al-Fitr at Istanbul’s Suleymaniye Mosque early on Tuesday

Eid prayers mark the beginning of a three-day festival during which most Muslims make time to spend with their families and friends, while breaking their month-long fast

Bosnian Muslims attend morning prayers in front of the main Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

As with everything else in the Middle East, politics often plays a part in the timing of the celebrations.

Ordinarily a festive occasion, this year’s Eid comes amid war and turmoil in more than one area. In Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgent group has said it will not mark Eid with a cease fire, as they did last year. 

Yemen has been mired in war and famine for years, while in Sudan, the ruling military just conducted a deadly crackdown on Monday against pro-democracy protesters, killing at least 35. 

At night, the state-run SUNA news agency announced that the country will celebrate the first day of Eid on Wednesday, but the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests, declared Tuesday is the first day of Eid according to astronomers in the Khartoum University – in defiance to the military council. 

In Yemen, the internationally recognized government said Tuesday is the first day of Eid, while the Shiite Houthi rebels who control much of the country including the capital, Sanaa, announced that Eid starts on Wednesday.

It is the first time in Yemen’s modern history that its people were split over celebrating Eid.

Worshippers offer up prayers in the early-morning light outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque in Russia, on Tuesday

People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan

Albanian Muslim men during morning prayers in the main square of Tirana, Albania

Kenyan Muslims pray outside Masjid As Salaam during the Eid al-Fitr prayers in Nairobi, Kenya

Worshippers at the Juma-Jami Mosque, located in the occupied Ukrainian region of Crimea, take place on Tuesday

Kuwait Muslims greet each other after attending a morning prayer session to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Kuwait City

Muslims arrive to perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Rawza-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, watched by a military guard. Unlike in previous years, the Taliban have said they will not stop fighting during Eid

A mufti and other muslims pray outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque during celebrations of Eid al-Fitr in Moscow, Russia

Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania

Muslim Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, started celebrating on Tuesday, whereas Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and others said the Shawwal crescent moon was not visible across the country and won’t start till Wednesday.

In Lebanon and Iraq, Sunnis began celebrating on Tuesday whereas Shiites will celebrate on Wednesday.

Pakistan, which is mostly Sunni, traditionally celebrates a day after most of the Muslim world. Pakistan is also split within the country along geographical lines, with residents of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, located on the border with Afghanistan and dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, celebrating Eid on Tuesday. 

The new moon was apparently spotted in North Waziristan, while the rest of Pakistan will celebrate on Wednesday.

In Afghanistan, Shiites were told by clerics that the moon was not seen so Ramadan would not begin for them until Wednesday. Sunnis however are celebrating Tuesday. 

The Taliban, which are Sunni hardliners, have said there will be no end to fighting while U.S. and NATO troops are still in Afghanistan. 

Most businesses close during Eid, as people dress up and visited relatives, enjoying their first daytime meals in a lunar month. Mosques hold special prayers at sunrise, and children are often given gifts or a special allowance.

Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr prayers at Fittja Mosque in Stockholm, Sweden, early on Tuesday

Worshippers at the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs Mosque (DITIB) in Berlin, Germany, perform morning prayers

Ashraf Ghani, center, the president of Afghanistan, speaks to crowds of Eid worshippers at the presidential palace in Kabul

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was photographed among the worshippers at Istanbul’s Camlica mosque, the largest in Turkey which he personally opened last month

Worshippers at King Abdulaziz Historical Mosque in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were among those celebrating the start of Eid on Tuesday, while some other Middle Eastern countries will begin Wednesday

Men hug each other after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan

Two women share a tender moment as they wait for the start of Eid prayers in Bucharest, Romania, on Tuesday

Egyptian women eat ‘Kahk’, traditional Egyptian butter cookies to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Cairo

Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Osmanagic Mosque in Podgorica, Montenegro

People perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in Historical Open Bazaar, Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Muslims pray outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque during celebrations of Eid al-Fitr holiday, a feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide

Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Rawza-i-Sharif (Shrine of Ali) mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

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