Friday, June 30, 2017

USA: Milpitas Ahmadiyya Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr festival


“The celebration involves prayers, listening to a sermon, but also gathering together with families and loved ones and just being together and celebrating and exchanging gifts and enjoying meals together.”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Mercury News
By Aliyah Mohammed | June 29, 2017

In Milpitas, American Muslims joined in celebrations across the globe Sunday and Monday in celebrating the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr festivities.

The prayer portion of the festivities were held at the Al Hilaal Mosque and Community Center on Dempsey Road Sunday and the Bait-ul-Baseer mosque on Evans Road on Monday, and drew around 250 and 300 attendees respectively.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, where Muslims around the world fast from food, water and bad habits from dawn to dusk for 30 days. During that time, they focus on increased spirituality and charitable actions.

“Today is a celebration of the end of Ramadan, this is Eid al-Fitr which is a reminder of charity and remembrance of God …we are celebrating the completion of the fasting for 30 days but also our charitable activities,” said Nusrat Qadir Chaudhry, spokeswoman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Silicon Valley, after the Monday prayer.

“The celebration involves prayers, listening to a sermon, but also gathering together with families and loved ones and just being together and celebrating and exchanging gifts and enjoying meals together,” she added.

During the month, Chaudhry said the Ahmadiyya community based in Milpitas volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank among other places, something they plan to continue into the rest of the year.

Imam Abdul Rashid Khan said the congregation at Al Hilaal Mosque in Milpitas celebrated with prayers and a sermon of unity that told attendees to help others and be good neighbors. That was followed by a light brunch and time with family and friends.

But the celebrations were overcast with worries and concerns by the communities because of a recent uptick in reported hate crimes against American Muslims and the targeting of mosques including a recent incident in Davis, Calif. Many mosques, including some in the Bay Area, hired extra security for evening Ramadan prayers and for the Eid festivities to keep the community safe.

Both Bait-ul-Baseer and Al-Hilaal did not hire professional security for their Eid prayers, but they did have members of the congregation standing watch. They also requested additional presence from the Milpitas Police Department to deter anyone with intentions of targeting either mosque.

On Monday morning, a Milpitas police squad car was parked in front of Bait-ul-Baseer mosque for the duration of the Eid festivities.

Faysal Sohail, deputy spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Silicon Valley, said recent hate crimes against mosques, the murder of a 17-year-old Muslim girl in Virginia on her way back to the mosque with friends after a pre-dawn meal in Ramadan, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week to reinstate parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban that targets those from Muslim countries made him feel uneasy for the first time in 31 years of living in the Silicon Valley.

“I’ve never had any feeling of unease and this is the first time we are starting to feel there is actual division. But at the same time you meet a lot of people who are aware of it and are trying to build bridges,” Sohail said.

Both Sohail and Khan said this year’s Eid felt different than past Eids because of the extra security and safety concerns.

Milpitas police Capt. Henry Kwong said the department does not have “specific efforts at any particular locations in Milpitas.” He noted that it would not be unusual to see a police car at a mosque or other institution.

“Although there is no specific information about any particular threat at this time, we continue to be vigilant and take different measures to minimize potential problems at various locations throughout the city,” Kwong said via email on Monday.

Meanwhile, the children in the community seemed unfazed by the recent incidents and the extra security, while many exchanged hugs, presents and looked forward to eating food with family and friends.

Anisa Qadir, 13, said Eid feels the same as last year and that she’s excited to barbecue with her family later in the day. Likewise, Ayela Maqsood, 8, said she was excited for Eid too.

“Because it’s fun and we get to have treats,” Maqsood said, wearing a sparkly-purple outfit to celebrate the day.


Read original post here: USA: Milpitas Ahmadiyya Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr festival


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