Muslims around the world celebrated a grim Eid al-Fitr on Thursday at the second celebration in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and amid mounting hostilities between Israel and Palestinians.
The three-day festival that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family celebrations and the purchase of new clothes, gifts and sweets.
Many COVID-affected countries, including India, Malaysia and Indonesia, imposed curbs, closed shops and even closed some mosques.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed to Pakistanis to “quietly” take oath to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“In Pakistan we are now starting to control the spread again, so it is vital for our people to comply with SOPs,” he tweeted.
Second, it is equally important that we all show solidarity with the Kashmiris and Palestinians who are being oppressed by the occupying powers in total violation of their internationally guaranteed basic human rights.
– Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 13, 2021
In Turkey, after an 87-year hiatus, the oath was held in the legendary Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul on Thursday.
Thousands of believers joined the prayer led by Ali Erbas, head of Turkey’s highest religious body, Diyanet.
“These holidays come at extraordinary times that define us, unite our hearts and strengthen our brotherhood,” he said.
Oath in the midst of conflict
While the coronavirus pandemic curtailed Eid activities, the celebrations have been halted for some due to conflict.
In the besieged Gaza Strip, worshipers prayed in mosques amid the rubble of collapsed buildings while the Israeli Air Force launched a fourth day of air strikes targeting locations associated with the ruling Hamas group.
“There is no oath here,” reported the journalist Sami Abu Salem from Gaza.
“Gaza is busy burying its dead. There is complaint instead of happiness. The streets are empty … there are no social visits between people, relatives or neighbors, ”said Abu Salem.
At least 86 people, including 17 children, have been killed since Monday, and more than 480 other people injured by heavy bombing have shaken the densely populated coastal enclave and torn down entire skyscrapers, according to the Gaza Strip health authorities.
The escalation of violence came after weeks of tension in occupied East Jerusalem due to a planned court ruling on the forced eviction of several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The court ruling has since been postponed. Friction in the city also intensified when Israeli security forces raided Al-Aqsa Mosque for three days during the last week of Ramadan and hundreds of Palestinians were wounded.
In the old city of Jerusalem, some passers-by wore shirts with Palestinian flags on Thursday, others had them painted on their cheeks.
Many wore the black and white checked keffiyeh scarf that has become a symbol of the Palestinian cause.
“Today we are very sad about the oath, because of the situation and the violence,” Hiba told the AFP news agency.
“We cannot be happy when we see what is happening in Gaza and elsewhere.”
A Palestinian woman photographs a girl during Eid al-Fitr prayers [Ammar Awad/Reuters]In Afghanistan, just days after a bomb attack that killed 80 people, most of them schoolgirls, the Taliban declared a three-day truce for oath.
The temporary truce, however, was short-lived. At least 11 civilians were killed and 13 others injured in four separate bombings in Afghanistan on Thursday, just hours after it began.
In the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was badly damaged in the long war between the Iraqi armed forces and the ISIS (ISIL) group that ended in 2017, worshipers gathered in the historic but largely destroyed Al-Masfi mosque from the 7th century. Century.
Oath prayers were held there for the first time since parts of it were reduced to rubble. The prayers were instigated by a local group of volunteers to reinforce their demands to rebuild the old town.
“We are happy about Eid and other celebrations, but there is also heartbreak because of the great destruction in Mosul to date,” said Ayyub Dhanun, one of the volunteers.