Eid al-fitr

Muslim faithful celebrate Eid al-Fitr under shadow of Covid and rocket fire

Muslim women blow up balloons as worshippers celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday, after the morning prayer at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound, with the Dome of the Rock mosque in the background, in Old Jerusalem early on May 13, 2021.
Muslim women blow up balloons as worshippers celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday, after the morning prayer at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound, with the Dome of the Rock mosque in the background, in Old Jerusalem early on May 13, 2021. AFP - AHMAD GHARABLI

Muslims around the world have been celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. In many countries festivities will continue through the week, but the spirit has been dampened in some communities by the Covid pandemic and spiralling violence in Gaza.

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It’s been another unprecedented year for Muslims the world over, marking the end of Ramadan against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In countries like the US and UK, where mass vaccinations campaigns have enabled an easing of health restrictions, Muslims have been able to gather in big numbers for the first time in over a year and celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Muslim worshipers prepare to hold morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 13, 2021.
Muslim worshipers prepare to hold morning Eid al-Fitr prayers in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS - STEPHANIE KEITH

In Nigeria, the usually joyous three-day celebration was significantly toned down this year as the number of coronavirus cases creeps up. The country has officially registered 165,612 cases, 2,066 people have died.

Muslims ride on horse back after an Eid al-Fitr prayer in an outdoor open area in Bauchi, Nigeria, Thursday, May 13, 2021.
Muslims ride on horse back after an Eid al-Fitr prayer in an outdoor open area in Bauchi, Nigeria, Thursday, May 13, 2021. AP - Sani Maikatanga

India marked Eid al-Fitr on Friday with more reserve than usual, after a particularly contagious Covid-19 variant sent infections soaring. More than 24 million people have contracted the virus, 262,317 have died.

Muslims pray next to the graves of their relatives, including those who died from Covid-19, to mark Eid al-Fitr in Ahmedabad, India, 14 May, 2021
Muslims pray next to the graves of their relatives, including those who died from Covid-19, to mark Eid al-Fitr in Ahmedabad, India, 14 May, 2021 REUTERS - AMIT DAVE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to say he was “praying for everyone’s good health”.

In neighbouring Muslim-majority Pakistan, less severely hit by the virus than India, but which has nonetheless lost 19,384 people to Covid-19, women and girls continued the tradition of painting their hands using henna.

Muslim girls display their hands painted with traditional henna to celebrate Eid al-Fitr holidays, in Peshawar, Pakistan, 13 May, 2021.
Muslim girls display their hands painted with traditional henna to celebrate Eid al-Fitr holidays, in Peshawar, Pakistan, 13 May, 2021. AP - Muhammad Sajjad

Muslim communities in several countries around the world have been showing solidarity with those affected by the crisis in Gaza where Israeli strikes have killed dozens of people, including children.

Several nights of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police, particularly around the al-Aqsa mosque, spiralled early this week into a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and deadly Israeli air strikes in retaliation. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas cancelled official Eid celebrations in the wake of the escalating violence in the region. In East Jerusalem, youths were nonetheless keen to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Crowds gathered in Jerusalem for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, but days of violence are overshadowing the festivities
Crowds gathered in Jerusalem for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, but days of violence are overshadowing the festivities ahmad gharabli AFP

Neighbouring Egypt began marking three days of Eid al-Fitr festivities on Thursday. But authorities are concerned this could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases as the country goes through its third wave.

Official figures stand at 237,000 confirmed cases and a total of 13,972 deaths. Experts say the real figures are higher.

A view of Muslims after Eid al-Fitr prayer at Amr Ibn El-Aas mosque, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Cairo, Egypt May 13, 2021.
A view of Muslims after Eid al-Fitr prayer at Amr Ibn El-Aas mosque, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Cairo, Egypt May 13, 2021. REUTERS - MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

Egyptian authorities have imposed a two-week curfew, but many fear it may not be enough to contain cases.  

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