Meghalaya Muslims celebrate Eid, offer prayers for Gaza
Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, was Tuesday celebrated across Meghalaya, a predominantly Christian state, with prayers for peace in strife-torn Gaza.
People prayed for peace in the world, particularly in Gaza. They offered special prayers for the victims of the Israeli bombings in Gaza.
"We are sad about the situation in Gaza, whose people are being bombarded. Allah will listen to our prayers for peace, stability, development and happiness in the world, particularly in Gaza," Shillong Muslim Union general secretary Sayeedulah Nongrum said.
Thousands of men and children clad in new clothes and wearing skull caps offered namaz in Eidgahs and mosques in Shillong, Dawki, Nongpoh, Lad Rymbai, Byrnihat and in the Garo Hills region.
The biggest congregation was at the Eidgah of India's first glass mosque - Madina Masjid - in Shillong where over 7,000 people offered prayers. Imam Uddin Khan led the prayers there.
"The festival celebrates the culmination of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan," Khan said.
Before offering prayers, every Muslim family paid charity (fixed at Rs.60 this year) on behalf of each member as per Islamic rules so that the poor can also celebrate the festival.
After the prayers, Muslims visited the houses of relatives and friends to offer greetings.
Governor K.K. Paul and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma greeted the people on the occasion.
Paul hoped "the festival which marks the end of the holy Ramadan, will promote universally cherished values of mutual respect, brotherhood and compassion in our society". He greeted the people of the state with the traditional "Eid Mubarak".
Chief Minister Sangma said: "Peace, forgiveness and unity are the heart of Eid and so let us resolve to strengthen these bonds of community spirits."
Muslims constitute four percent of the nearly three million people of Meghalaya.
(Posted on 29-07-2014)