Faithful Muslims around the world begin celebrating Eid

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Muslim worshippers attend Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (Prophets Mosque) in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Muslim worshippers attend Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (Prophets Mosque) in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Muslim worshippers perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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A man sits visits the grave of a relative on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr at in the rebel-held Syrian northwestern city of Idlib. (AFP)
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A mufti and other muslims pray outside the Moscow Cathedral Mosque during celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr in Moscow, Russia. (AP)
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Ivorian Muslims offer prayers for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday in front of a mosque in Adjame neighborhood of Abidjan. (AFP)
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Syrians shop in the Bazurieh market in Damascus’ historic bazaar ahead of Eid Al-Fitr. (AFP)
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A young Muslim worshipper runs off during a mass prayer to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa. (AFP)
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Afghan men attend Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP)
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Muslims attend the morning prayers of Eid Al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Reuters)
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Muslim worshippers perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul. (AFP)
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A Palestinian woman stands next to sweets for sale as Palestinians shop ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Reuters)
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Muslims attend the morning prayers of Eid Al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Reuters)
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A Palestinian man prepares traditional cakes for sale ahead of Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Reuters)
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Turkey’s Muslims offer prayers during the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul. (AP)
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Young Muslim worshippers are seen ahead of a mass prayer to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa. (AFP)
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Libyan Muslim worshippers gather to perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Martyrs Square of the capital Tripoli. (AFP)
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Girls wait for the start of Eid Al-Fitr prayers in Bucharest, Romania. (AP)
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Children ride a carousel during the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Reuters)
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Libyan Muslim worshippers pose for a picture after performing Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Martyrs Square of the capital Tripoli. (AFP)
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Muslims attend the morning prayers of Eid Al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Juba, South Sudan. (Reuters)
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Decorations on a street in Jakarta as people start to head to their hometowns to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr. (AFP)
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Kenyan Muslims stand for prayers outside Masjid As Salaam during the Eid Al-Fitr prayers in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP)
Updated 04 June 2019

Faithful Muslims around the world begin celebrating Eid

  • Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid Al-Fitr marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
  • Mosques hold special prayers at sunrise, followed by family visits and feasts

RIYADH: Muslims across the Middle East and beyond began marking the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, one of the most celebrated holidays for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims and traditionally a time for family and festivities.
The holiday marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims have been fasting from sunrise to sunset.
But the start of the holiday varies from country to country — with splits even within the same country — because the start of Eid is traditionally based on sightings of the new moon.
As with everything else in the Middle East, politics often plays a part.
Ordinarily a festive occasion, this year’s Eid comes amid war and turmoil in more than one area. In Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgent group has said it will not mark Eid with a cease fire, as they did last year. Yemen has been mired in war and famine for years, while in Sudan, the ruling military just conducted a deadly crackdown on Monday against pro-democracy protesters, killing at least 35.
Sudanese protesters have camped for months outside the military’s headquarters as the two sides negotiated over who would run the country after longtime strongman Omar Al-Bashir’s ouster in April. On Monday, the military had had enough and moved to crush the protest movement, overrunning the main sit-in site in the capital, unleashing furious volleys of gunfire, beating protesters with sticks and burning down tents.
At night, the state-run SUNA news agency announced that the country will celebrate the first day of Eid on Wednesday, but the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests, declared Tuesday is the first day of Eid according to astronomers in the Khartoum University — apparently in defiance to the military council.
The SPA urged people across the country to hold Eid prayers, “pray for the martyrs” and take to the streets to protest.
Mohammed Yousef Al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the SPA, said the military authorities has announced Tuesday as a fasting day in efforts to keep people in their homes after Monday’s “massacre.”
In Yemen, the internationally recognized government said Tuesday is the first day of Eid, while the Iran-backed Houthi militia who control much of the country including the capital, Sanaa, announced that Eid starts on Wednesday.
It is the first time in Yemen’s modern history that its people were split over celebrating Eid.
Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar started celebrating on Tuesday, whereas Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and others said the Shawwal crescent moon was not visible across the country and would not start till Wednesday.
In Lebanon and Iraq, Sunnis began celebrating on Tuesday whereas Shiites will celebrate on Wednesday.
Pakistan, which is mostly Sunni, traditionally celebrates a day after most of the Muslim world. Pakistan is also split within the country along geographical lines, with residents of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, located on the border with Afghanistan and dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, celebrating Eid on Tuesday. The new moon was apparently spotted in North Waziristan, while the rest of Pakistan will celebrate on Wednesday.
In Afghanistan, Shiites were told by clerics that the moon was not seen so Ramadan would not begin for them until Wednesday. Sunnis however are celebrating Tuesday. The Taliban have said there will be no end to fighting while US and NATO troops are still in Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, thousands of Muslims living in Moscow gathered in and outside the city’s grand mosque to pray. Security was high and mounted police patrolled the streets.
The Moscow Cathedral Mosque, which has capacity for 10,000 people, was packed with worshippers, many of whom hail originally from Central Asia.
After Orthodox Christianity, Islam is the second biggest religion in Russia.
“We came to pray and the place is not important. The only place we need is a place to put a rug, to pray to God, to take part in this holiday — this is the most important,” said Sivush Veriyev.
Thousands of faithful packed stadiums in Addis Ababa and Mogadishu and there were also mass prayers in the Nigerian capital Abuja as well as Juba in South Sudan.
In Bangladesh, thousands of people have been scrambling to Dhaka’s ferry terminals and stations, packing trains heading out of the city to return to their hometowns for Eid.
In Turkey, President Tayyip Erdogan prayed at Istanbul’s huge new Camlica mosque, which he formally inaugurated last month.
The holiday traditionally lasts one to three days and is eagerly anticipated after the month of fasting. During Ramadan, the faithful refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or sexual activity from dawn to dusk.
Most businesses close during Eid, as people dress up and visited relatives, enjoying their first daytime meals in a lunar month. The day begins with early morning prayers and then family visits and feasts. Families also visit the graves of their lost ones and children are often given gifts or a special allowance.

*With AP and Reuters


Italy has nothing to fear from ESM reform, PM Conte says

Updated 40 min 32 sec ago

Italy has nothing to fear from ESM reform, PM Conte says

  • Critics of the planned changes to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) say they would make it more likely that Italy will have to restructure its debt
  • During his speech to parliament, Conte sharply rejected criticisms by the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte dismissed criticisms of planned reforms to the euro zone bailout fund on Wednesday, saying the proposals, which have been heavily attacked by right-wing opposition parties, posed no threat to Italy.

Critics of the planned changes to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) say they would make it more likely that Italy will have to restructure its debt, the highest in the euro area as a proportion of national output after Greece’s.

“Italy has nothing to fear ... its debt is fully sustainable, as the main international institutions, including the (EU) Commission have said,” Conte told parliament ahead of a European Council meeting this week to discuss the reform.

He repeated that Rome would not agree to any restrictions on banks holding sovereign debt.

During his speech to parliament, Conte sharply rejected criticisms by the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties, saying they appeared aimed at undermining Italy’s membership of the single currency.

“Some of the positions that have emerged during the public debate have unveiled the ill-concealed hope of bringing our country out of the euro zone or even from the European Union,” Conte said.

The League and Brothers of Italy have attacked the planned reforms to the ESM, which they say will open the door for a forced restructuring of Italy’s public debt that would hit Italian banks and savers who invest in government bonds.

Some members of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement have made similar criticisms, adding to tensions with their partner in the ruling coalition, the center-left Democratic Party.

Lawmakers from 5 Star and the Democratic Party appeared to have smoothed over their differences on Wednesday, however, agreeing to drop demands for a veto on measures that could make it easier to reach a debt restructuring accord.

In a final resolution, they scrapped calls for a veto on so-called single limb collective action clauses (CACS), that limit the ability of individual investors to delay any restructuring agreement by holding out for better terms.

Under the new system, restructuring would go ahead after a single, aggregate vote by bondholders regarding all affected bonds while the clauses currently in place require an aggregate vote as well as an individual bond-by-bond vote.

Italy has asked to clarify that the new clauses will not rule out the so-called sub-aggregation, allowing separate votes for different groups of bond issuances to protect small investors, a government official told Reuters.