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Latin America’s Oldest Mosque to Host `Eid Party

SAO PAULO – Muslims in Sao Paulo will gather at 7 am on Sunday, June 25, to celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, the religious holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, with a special prayer and party.

Brazil Mosque, the oldest mosque in Latin America, located in the Cambuci district, city of São Paulo, will host a Breakfast Party, which starts at 7 am on Sunday (25) with a prayer, followed by a grand reception at the mosque, Brazil Arab News Agency reported on Friday, June 23.

According to astronomical calculations, `Eid al-Fitr is expected to begin on June 25.

The three-day festival is one of the two main religious celebrations in Islam, together with `Eid Al-Adha.

After special prayers to mark the day, festivities and merriment start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.

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And while traditionally everyone wears new clothes for `Eid, children look forward to gifts and traditional `ediya (cash).

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.

The special celebration comes in the wake of a successful charity campaign promoted and led by the Islamic Charity Association (SBM), which funds Brazil Mosque, during Ramadan.

Blankets, sweatshirts and baskets with basic goods were distributed to the population in need and a free iftar dinner was served every night at the end of fasting.

“Despite holding many activities during the year, in the Ramadan we make an effort to surpass our limits and reach out a helping hand to the brothers in need,” said SBM’s president, Nasser Fares, in a statement.

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil.

However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

Islam expert Paulo Pinto of Fuminense Federal University estimated Brazil is home to about a million Muslims.

With no confirmed number of Muslims, the best indicator of the growth of Islam in the country is the rapid increase in the number of mosques.

There are now 127 mosques, four times as many as there were back in 2000.