HAMPSHIRE – Muslims in Southampton city on the south coast of England cancelled their `Eid Al-Fitr outdoor celebration, citing rising anti-Muslim sentiments in the community after Brexit poll.
“We have decided it would be best if we cancel the huge gathering considering the political situation and unrest in the UK after leaving the EU and the rise of racist activity and comments around the other cities,” Shere Sattar, chairman of the British Bangladesh Cultural Academy, was quoted by the BBC on Thursday, June 30.
Sattar said safety concerns had led to the cancellation of the `Eid Al-Fitr prayer planned at a Southampton park.
The decision comes as the South Coast Resistance’ group announced plans to demonstrate in the city on 2 July.
The far right group said it planned to hold a march through the city under the banner “Refugees Not Welcome”.
A few days after Brexit vote, Southampton’s communities chief, Satvir Kaur, said she had received reports of racist abuse aimed at Polish and Asian residents.
She added that there have been reports of racially aggravated abuse across the UK in the wake of the vote to leave the EU.
Sattar added that although the gathering for `Eid prayer has been cancelled, which has been due to take place on July 4 and 5, they hope to hold other events in Southampton later this year.
“We are positive that by September we are hoping all those activities would be at rest, so that we can continue with our normal lives and community activities without any interruptions.
“We urge everyone to be at their best in this un-restful time in the country we all should contribute everything we can to keep our city and the community safe.”
Marking the end of Ramadan fasting, `Eid Al-Fitr is one 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.