More than 100,000 Muslims gathered in a single UK park on Sunday for the largest Eid celebration of its kind in Europe. Record numbers of Islamic worshippers from across the globe descended on Small Heath Park, in Birmingham, to mark the end of Ramadan. Armed officers and extra patrols were on patrol after the series of terror attacks in Manchester and London, most recently near Finsbury Park Mosque.
Amer Ijaz, one of the event’s organisers, said they were “happy that they are here to reassure us”. Following a 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.” Organisers said over 106,000 people attended this year’s event – more than the capacity of Barcelona FC’s Nou Camp stadium.
Families – some who had travelled to Birmingham from as far as the USA – got to their knees in unison for morning prayers at 9am. They then descending on the numerous stalls and activities available – which included fairground rides, miniature golf and laser clay pigeon shooting. 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
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.”
During Ramadan this year, worshippers raised £435,000 in a single night for international humanitarian aid charity Human Appeal, which comes just weeks after it handed over a cheque for £1.2 million.
The money will go directly to the Saving Syria project, which is raising funds for orphans in the war-torn country.
Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal, said: “It is a great honour once again for Human Appeal to be part of Celebrate Eid; the biggest gathering of Muslims in Europe.
“As well as tragedy throughout the holy month of Ramadan, there has been unrivalled generosity.
“British Muslims have given so much to help those in need here in the UK and around the globe.
“This Eid we celebrate the generosity of the Muslim community.”
Religious Eid is a single day that signals the end of Ramadan and the start of the next month, Shawwal.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, where Muslims focus on personal reflection and prayer through three types of worship: charity, prayer and fasting.
It is followed by another two days of festivity for the global Muslim community, which numbers over 1.6 billion.
Source – Telegraph