Pensive `Eid for New Zealand Muslims

Muslims in New Zealand are preparing to welcome a pensive `Eid Al-Fitr celebration, after a period of mourning that followed Christchurch mosque attacks, NZ Herald reported.

“We went through a period of mourning and reflection, so `Eid will be our time for celebrations and thanksgiving,” said NZ Eid Day chairman Javed Dadabhai.

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Marking the end of Ramadan fasting, `Eid Al-Fitr is one of the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.

During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.

`Eid is expected in New Zealand on Tuesday or Wednesday, pending confirmation after moon sighting. Meanwhile, in Australia, the National Imams Council declared that `Eid Al-Fitr will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 5.

Preparing for `Eid, imam Dadabhai said this year’s celebrations will be more pensive as the terror attacks of Christchurch still remain fresh in people’s minds.

“An imam reminded us that we should take on the opportunities that the others in Christchurch had not been given,” Dadabhai said, referring to the 51 people who were killed in the March 15 mosque shootings.

“Christchurch is a reminder that we must make the most of every day because you don’t know whether you’d have a next year.”

The Eden Park event in Auckland will start with morning prayers, but from 10 am it would be transformed into a family carnival with stage performances, games and food stalls until 4 pm.

A police spokeswoman is urging people attending the event to remain vigilant.

“Police will be present at the venue as a precautionary measure to reassure the public and to ensure the safety of those attending `Eid,” she said.

“The safety of our communities is our priority. As with any large community gathering, we ask the public to remain vigilant, and anyone who sees any suspicious activity is asked to contact police by phoning 111.”

There are about 50,000 Muslims in New Zealand and about 60 mosques and Islamic centers.

The holy month of Ramadan and `Eid Al-Fitr come only a few weeks after Christchurch terrorist attacks in which 50 Muslims were killed and dozens injured.