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Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations across the world marred by devastating Israel-Hamas war in Gaza

As Muslims across the world celebrated the end of the holy month of Ramadan, many countries noted the death and destruction in Gaza. The Israeli military operation has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and left most of the population homeless.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Published on: April 10, 2024 19:56 IST
Eid ul Fitr celebrations worldwide, Israel Hamas war
Image Source : AP Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Iran on Wednesday.

Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, with family reunions, new clothes and sweet treats, but the festivities are heavily overshadowed by the devastating war in Gaza between Israel and militant group Hamas, which has claimed the lives of more than 33,000 Palestinians and drove the majority of the territory's population out of their homes.

Despite efforts from Israel's Western allies to halt the fighting after six months of war, the humanitarian catastrophe is worsening in Gaza as a quarter of the population faces starvation and almost the entire 2.3 million population is left without food, water, electricity and other essential supplies. As most of the enclave lies in ruins due to the military operation, Israel's expected offensive in the city of Rafah has sparked further alarm and outrage from other countries.

In Turkey, thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered at Istanbul's Aya Sofya Mosque for the morning prayers, with some carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans in support of the people in Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also sent out a holiday message, calling the Gaza war "a bleeding wound on the conscience of humanity.”

Gaza war overshadows Eid festivities in other countries

In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, one Imam named Abdulrahman Musa, said, "We should not forget our brothers and sisters in Palestine. They have been subjected to unjustified aggression and a lot of violence (as) the world is watching in silence". Before the holiday, markets around the world teemed with shoppers. Residents poured out of cities to return to villages to celebrate with loved ones.

In Indonesia, Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, was flooded with devotees and preachers in their sermons called on people to pray for Muslims in Gaza. "This is the time for Muslims and non-Muslims to show humanitarian solidarity, because the conflict in Gaza is not a religious war, but a humanitarian problem,” said Jimly Asshiddiqie, who chairs the advisory board of the Indonesian Mosque Council.

Pakistan also celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with prayers for Palestinians in Gaza, according to Geo News. Pakistan’s top leadership expressed solidarity with the people in Gaza and urged the international community to ensure immediate peace and international aid in the besieged coastal enclave. "We impress upon the international community to ensure immediate peace in Gaza and provision of assistance to the Palestinians. The oppression, barbarity, and genocide by Israel is the gravest violation of human rights," said President Asif Ali Zardari.

"We turn to God asking for a near relief and victory for our brothers in Palestine," said Omar Nizar Karim in Iraq's capital Baghdad. "This is a message we are sending today from this blessed place to our people in Gaza and to our people in Palestine."

War ruins Eid preparations in Gaza

Meanwhile, Palestinians visited the graves of loved ones killed in the Gaza war and prayed beside the wreckage of a mosque and in shattered streets on Eid-ul-Fitr. After six months of war, their focus is on surviving Israeli air strikes, shelling, a ground offensive and a humanitarian crisis.

The war erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian Islamist group burst across the border and rampaged in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel responded with ferocious air strikes and a ground invasion which has killed over 33,000 Palestinians, wounded more than 75,000 and created a humanitarian crisis.

Most of the enclave's 2.3 million people are homeless. Hospitals have been destroyed, medicine is in short supply and many Gazans are at risk of famine. Palestinians in the enclave have thus little to celebrate, as children played among the crushed cement and twisted medal left by airstrikes, near the ruins of Rafah's al Farouq mosque that was struck in an Israeli attack. 

Worshippers knelt in the street next to the wreckage of the mosque, laying out their prayer mats in the shadow of a white minaret, still standing amid the otherwise flattened building. "This day, for me, is heartbreaking, compared to last Eid. I look at my children and I feel heartbroken. When I sit with them and I start to cry, feeling sad for the days that have passed," said Hamaydeh, who is now pushed in a wheelchair after being wounded by the Israeli military.

(with inputs from agencies)

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