Thousands of British Muslims celebrated Eid Festival 2019 in London

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London Mayor Sadi Khan has hosted the annual Eid Festival for three consecutive years. (Twitter photo/@MayorofLondon)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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There were performances from diverse acts from around the world. (Social media)
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There were performances from diverse acts from around the world. (Social media)
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London Mayor Sadi Khan has hosted the annual Eid Festival for three consecutive years. (Twitter photo/@MayorofLondon)
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The London mayor was joined on stage by the award-winning Hollywood actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed. (Twitter photo/@MayorofLondon)
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There were performances from diverse acts from around the world. (Social media)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (Social media)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Eid Festival 2019 was held in Trafalgar Square in its 14th edition. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Muslims and non-Muslims from London and beyond turned out for the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Trafalgar Square is located opposite the National Gallery in central London. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Stalls representing different ethnic backgrounds sold delicious foods and drinks common to their countries during the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Eid Festival 2019 was held in Trafalgar Square in its 14th edition. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Eid Festival 2019 was held in Trafalgar Square in its 14th edition. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Eid Festival 2019 was held in Trafalgar Square in its 14th edition. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Muslims and non-Muslims from London and beyond turned out for the event. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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There were performances from diverse acts from around the world. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The London mayor told the joyous crowd that people of all faiths — or of no faith — were all welcome in the capital city. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The London mayor told the joyous crowd that people of all faiths — or of no faith — were all welcome in the capital city. (AN photo/Sarah Glubb)
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The Festival was held on Trafalgar Square for the 14th time as Londoners of all ages, backgrounds, faiths celebrated Eid. (Social media)
Updated 12 June 2019

Thousands of British Muslims celebrated Eid Festival 2019 in London

  • Thousands of Muslims from across the UK attended the Eid Festival in London
  • In its 14th edition, this is the 3rd time that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has hosted the event

LONDON: Thousands of people celebrated Eid Al-Fitr in London’s Trafalgar Square, with the city’s mayor hosting the free festival.
This is the 14th Eid in the Square in London, an annual event celebrating the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
“We are celebrating this very important festival and the wonderful thing is that it isn’t just Muslims who are celebrating Eid, there are non-Muslims here as well, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and members of organized faiths and those that aren’t,” Mayor Sadiq Khan told Arab News.
“Here in London you are free to be who you want to be and you’re not simply tolerated, you are respected, you are embraced and you are celebrated,” he added.
Khan told the crowds that people of all faiths and none were welcome in the capital, adding that the “wonderful thing” about the city was that many Londoners realized when Ramadan was ongoing.
“Many non-Muslims are now fasting in solidarity. They know about iftar, they know about suhoor and it demonstrates that here in London you can be a part of London but also of different religions. “This year was wonderful as we had record numbers of non-Muslims here and that should demonstrate to the world why we are a beacon and why we are, in my view, the greatest city in the world."

The Mayor was joined on stage by the award-winning Hollywood actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed onstage.
There were performances from diverse acts including an Indonesian dance troupe, Syrian classical musicians, West African–European contemporary artists and spoken word poets.
Muslims and non-Muslims from London and beyond turned out for the event.  

“Me and my friends decided to come for a day out, just in general, but then we saw the Eid festival was on so I was really intrigued to come and experience the diversity and cultural awareness of this amazing city,” said Ayesha Kholwadia, 19, from north London. She is from India and was raised in the UK. She was visiting the festival for the first time and said it was “beautiful” to see people from different backgrounds come together in the sunshine.
Joanne Clarkson was also at the festival for the first time. “I’m visiting from Bristol and I’m loving being here and celebrating Eid. I love the music and all the aspects of the culture,” she said.

This year’s Eid Festival coincides with #LondonIsOpen, a major campaign launched by the London mayor in 2016, to show that London is united and open for business. “Despite Brexit, London will always be open to the world, proud of our diversity and inclusive to everyone,” a statement on the mayor’s official website stated.


Leading Hong Kong activists charged for Tiananmen vigil gathering

Updated 26 min 25 sec ago

Leading Hong Kong activists charged for Tiananmen vigil gathering

  • Hong Kongers defied a ban on rallies to mark the June 4 anniversary of Beijing’s deadly 1989 crackdown
  • China’s leaders have rejected calls to give Hong Kongers universal suffrage

HONG KONG: Thirteen prominent Hong Kong democracy activists appeared in court on Monday charged with holding an unauthorized gathering to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the latest in a string of prosecutions against protest leaders in the restless financial hub.
Last month tens of thousands of Hong Kongers defied a ban on rallies to mark the June 4 anniversary of Beijing’s deadly 1989 crackdown against students pushing for democracy.
The annual vigil has been held in Hong Kong for the last three decades and usually attracts huge crowds. It has taken on particular significance in recent years as the semi-autonomous city chafes under Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
This year’s vigil was banned for the first time with authorities citing coronavirus measures. At the time local transmission had largely been halted.
But thousands turned out to hold candles in their neighborhoods and in Victoria Park, the traditional site of the vigil.
Police later arrested 13 leading activists who appeared at the Victoria Park vigil.
All appeared in court on Monday to be formally charged with “inciting” an unlawful assembly, which carries up to five years in jail.
Among them are Jimmy Lai, the millionaire owner of the openly pro-democracy Apple newspaper, veteran democracy activists such as Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho as well as young campaigner Figo Chan.
When asked if he understood the charge, Lee invoked the hundreds who were killed by Chinese tanks and soldiers at Tiananmen.
“This is political persecution,” he said. “The real incitement is the massacre conducted by the Chinese Communist Party 31 years ago.”
Some of those charged on Monday — and many other leading democracy figures — face separate prosecutions related to last year’s huge and often violent pro-democracy protests.
China’s leaders have rejected calls to give Hong Kongers universal suffrage and portrayed the protests as a plot by foreigners to destabilize the motherland.
Earlier this month Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law aimed at stamping out the protests once and for all.
The law targets subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion, with sentences including life in prison.
But its broad phrasing — such as a ban on encouraging hatred toward China’s government — has sent fear rippling through a city used to being able to speak its mind.
Police have arrested people for possessing pro-independence or autonomy material, libraries and schools have pulled books, political parties have disbanded and one prominent opposition politician has fled.
The law bypassed Hong Kong’s legislature and its contents were kept secret until the moment it was enacted.
It empowered China’s security apparatus to set up shop openly in Hong Kong for the first time, while Beijing has also claimed jurisdiction for some serious national security cases — ending the legal firewall between the mainland the city’s independent judiciary.
China has also announced global jurisdiction to pursue national security crimes committed by anyone outside of Hong Kong and China, including foreigners.