Muslims mark end of Ramadan with Eid celebrations

Jul 28 2014, 21:36 IST
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SummaryMillions of Muslims across the world celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday...

Millions of Muslims across the world celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday today, which marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan.

The three-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is a time to celebrate the completion of Ramadan, a month devoted to worship and repentance during which observing Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset every day.

But the mood was dark for millions of people affected by the Syrian civil war, the Gaza war and the militant advance in Iraq. Many were just too busy trying to survive to observe the holiday.

Beyond the Middle East, the few remaining Muslims in the Central African Republic's capital city ventured out to a mosque under the watchful guard of armed peacekeepers.

Others like Aminata Baryn stayed at home, still too fearful to venture out for fear of attack from Christian militias who drove thousands of Muslims from the capital this year.

In the Philippines, an insurgent group attacked people travelling to celebrate with their families, killing 21, including at least six children, in the bloodiest incident by the gunmen in recent years.

In Gaza City, streets were largely deserted, as residents huddled indoors for safety. More than 1,040 Gazans have been killed, more than 6,000 wounded and tens of thousands displaced in the last three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, according to Palestinian officials. Israel has seen 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed.

"All we think about is to stay safe," said Fedaa Abul Atta, a nurse and mother of six. The family was grieving the death of her nephew, killed in an airstrike. Her house among hundreds demolished by Israeli fire in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shijaiyah.

The mood was equally subdued for the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

"Eid has no flavor here at all," said Umm Ammar, who fled her country three years ago with her family and now lives in an encampment in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley. "We want to celebrate Eid in Syria, in our homes."

Despite frequent car bombings in Iraq's capital of Baghdad, shoppers packed malls and stores ahead of Eid in anticipation of family gatherings.

Muslims in Indonesia, across the Middle East, parts of Africa, Europe and the US marked Eid today.

Millions in Morocco, India and most of Pakistan are still fasting and will likely celebrate Eid tomorrow. That's because

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