Malawi Muslims celebrate Eid, Mia calls for peaceful co-existence

Thousands of Muslims gathered Monday for the prayer of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan,  at the Chichiri Stadium Upper Ground in the commercial city of Blantyre amid calls for peaceful co-existence among religions.

The festivities involve thanksgiving, merriment, feasting and the exchange of gifts and traditionally begin upon the sighting of the new moon.

Held under the theme “Islam for peace and coexistence”, thousands of Muslims gathered for the prayer as former transport minister Sadik Mia, a devout Muslim, said Islam is a religion of peace.

“We want peace in the world. Where people have differences, peaceful means should be employed to resolve the differences,” said Mia.

Mia:   Eid al-Fitr

Mia: Eid al-Fitr

“Muslims must lead by example and preach peaceful coexistence among religions,” he said.

An ongoing Israeli offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip also dominated the Muslim prayer on Monday.

“The people of Gaza are our brothers and sisters. We have to remember them in prayer,” Sauti Mohamed, a local faithful attending the prayers, said.

President Peter Mutharika in his speech to mark Eid,  reminded Muslims that “they should continue to display the spirit of brotherhood, harmony, tolerance, love and sharing.”

He said: “From my understanding Ramadan is a religious call to address the social ills, hunger, poverty and the importance of fitting into a group with a view to fend off challenges of the time.”

President Mutharika said Malawi is facing “a lot of challenges” and  calls for “sacrifices.”

“We must all have our individual Ramadan,” he urged.

Malawi has declared Monday a national holiday to allow Muslims celebrate their feast.

Sheikh Abdul Razzak Fattani, the executive director of the Islamic Relief Agency (IRA), hailed the government move to declare Eid a national holiday.

“This national holiday means all Muslims will have enough time to pray and make donations,” Fattani said.

He said Malawian Muslims will use their prayers to call for peace and development in the country.

“We will pray for calm and development as well as economic recovery of Malawi,” he said.

Meanwhile, muslims are donating food to prisoners across the country . The food packages, which include rice, cooking oil, beans, salt and sugar, will be donated to Chichiri, Bvumbwe and Zomba prisons.

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