UAE worshippers focus their Eid prayers on Gaza while marking end of Ramadan

Thousands flock to mosques to mark the end of holy month

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The plight of the people in Gaza was the focus of prayers from worshippers marking the beginning of Eid Al Fitr in one of Dubai's busiest mosques.

Thousands attended the first Eid prayers at Al Farooq Omar bin Al Khattab Mosque in Jumeirah.

There was a palpable sense of joy in the air as worshippers celebrated the beginning of Eid Al Fitr, after fasting for Ramadan.

But they admitted their thoughts kept coming back to those living in Gaza, as Israel continues its war on the enclave.

“It's sad what is happening there and we are praying that changes, all we can do is pray that something good happens there,” said Syrian resident Zaher Fdloun.

“We want to see peace everywhere and it's not about one place but, of course, we care about what's happening in Palestine. Palestine, and what's happening in Gaza, is in our prayers for sure.”

These echo the sentiments of Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, who wrote on X: “Best congratulations on Eid Al Fitr, and our hearts are with the people of Gaza in their ordeal, as the fierce Israeli war casts a shadow on the holiday and its joy.

“The UAE continues to support the Gazans in these difficult times, and in parallel with its political efforts with our Arab brothers, it will spare no effort to help the people of Gaza through its comprehensive relief programme.”

More than 33,300 people have been killed in Gaza, and almost 76,000 injured, the enclave's health authorities said.

The war began on October 7, when Hamas killed about 1,200 people and took 240 hostages in attacks on southern Israel.

Coming together

Crowds of families and friends gathered at mosques across the UAE to mark the first day of Eid together.

“It's important to come together as a community and celebrate Eid Al Fitr,” said Mr Fdloun, 40. “You meet so many friends this morning and you share what you have gained in Ramadan.”

Another worshipper who included Gaza in her prayers was Amajda El Moudden from France.

“We are thinking about our brothers in Palestine,” said Ms El Moudden, 42. “We are praying for peace somehow.”

She added it was important to be grateful for what we have and that Eid is the perfect occasion to show that gratitude.

“We pray for God to accept our prayers and wish each other love and joy,” she said.

Palestinian Marah Alasadi was also hoping to see an end to the violence in her homeland, as she attended a mosque on Eid for the first time.

'We are praying for a peaceful world,” said Ms Alasadi, 29, who would previously perform Eid prayers at home.

She said she had no regrets about choosing to spend the morning at the mosque.

“After all of these days during Ramadan fasting there's something that also unites us when we're breaking our fast,” she said, adding that going to the mosque for first Eid prayers was likely to become a tradition for her.

“It felt like you belong to something and we need to practice this as much as we can and not neglect the small things in our religion because it will make a difference.”

She was not the only Palestinian to attend Eid prayers at the mosque. “I never thought in the past I would wake up at 6am and actually come,” said Ali Tarsha, 29, from Palestine.

“It's unique. There's a sense that it's a prize for a long month of patient fasting. It makes you feel purer.”

Such was the demand to worship with others on the morning of Eid, there were crowds standing outside the mosque during prayers.

Some sprinted along the middle of the road to attend on time.

“It's a very important occasion as you need to be able to celebrate and pay thanks after fasting for an entire month,” said Theasleem Eranikath from India.

“Ramadan is a very important time. If you want to have good fortune in your life then it's important to remember you need to do good and make sacrifices.”

Updated: April 10, 2024, 7:53 AM