Eid appeal to Mumbai’s Muslims: Help the needy

A man carries his son on his shoulders on the last Friday of Ramadan in the old quarters of New Delhi after the government eased restrictions imposed as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease. (AFP)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Eid appeal to Mumbai’s Muslims: Help the needy

  • City has 20% of India’s nearly 120,000 cases of COVID-19

MUMBAI: Leaders of the Muslim community in the Indian city of Mumbai have urged its members to forgo Eid Al-Fitr celebrations and instead support those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Mumbai is the worst-hit part of the country, recording 20 percent of India’s nearly 120,000 infection cases and almost a quarter of its 3,600 deaths related to COVID-19.
The worst-affected parts of Mumbai are its vast slum areas, where social distancing is impossible.
As the government of Maharashtra state has introduced a stay-at-home curfew in the city of 20 million, with residents allowed outside only if vitally necessary, many have been left without work and are facing hunger.
The emergency economic situation has prompted Muslim leaders in Mumbai to urge fellow community members to avoid spending money on celebrating Eid Al-Fitr — a holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan — and help all those suffering from the lockdown.
“We want to urge Muslims to think about the poor and needy by providing rations or even giving cooked food to those struggling in their neighborhoods. Help should be rendered not only to Muslims, but to anyone who needs it,” Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, secretary-general of the All India Ulema Council, told Arab News.
He said each year enormous sums are spent on Eid feasts in the city, where about 20 percent of residents are Muslim.
It is estimated that some 5 billion Indian rupees ($65 million) are usually spent during Eid season on gifts, new clothes and food as markets, shopping centers and food stalls teem with people.
Daryabadi discouraged the annual shopping spree “at a time when there’s a complete lockdown and even namaz (prayer) isn’t offered in mosques.”

We want to urge Muslims to think about the poor and needy by providing rations or even giving cooked food to those struggling in their neighborhoods. Help should be rendered not only to Muslims, but to anyone who needs it.

Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, Secretary-general of All India Ulema Council

Nawab Malik, Maharashtra Cabinet minister for minority development, told Arab News: “Muslims across the country are in no mood to celebrate Eid as usual. They’ve been following all the rules of lockdown and staying home.”
He too encouraged charity, saying: “As per Islamic philosophy, the affluent are expected to give money to the poor. Charity is part of Islamic tradition.”
He added that the state government is considering financial packages and interest-free loans for those whose livelihoods and businesses have been severely affected.
Yahya Mohammed, a building contractor and father of three who lives in Mumbai, said he is not planning anything special for Eid this year.

“It will be just a good meal prepared for the family. As for charity, we’ve always been giving. It’s part of our tradition,” he told Arab News.

Sarfraz Arzu, editor in chief of the Hindustan Urdu Daily, said: “Muslims on their own have been helping the poor without being told by anyone. Considering the severity of the situation, people have realized that spending on clothes and festivities is not necessary.”

He added that he, his wife and daughter will quietly spend Eid at home, praying “that life becomes normal once again.”

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

Updated 50 min 56 sec ago

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

  • Troops can go in ’very quickly,’ Trump says

CHICAGO: The firestorm of protest, arson and looting that has consumed the US for five days began at the counter of an Arab American grocery store.

Staff working for Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase.

Officers who arrested Floyd held him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as he pleaded that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and died later in hospital. One officer has been charged with third-degree murder and further charges are expected.

“What took place outside … was not in our hands,” Abumayyaleh told US TV. “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.”

Abumayyaleh said he knew Floyd as a customer, and as someone who was always pleasant. He did not find out until the following morning that the man had died. “We were all outraged,” he said, and Floyd “may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit.”

The store owner and his sons, Samir, Adam and Mahmoud, have gone into hiding in the face of a wave of threats against them on social media. They took down their store’s Facebook page and its landline phone has been disconnected.

Minneapolis has more than 50 Arab- and Muslim-owned stores mostly north of where the incident occurred, all operating under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Arab store owners said they feared speaking out publicly about the incident.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at one Arab-owned store told Arab News that both the killing of Floyd and vandalism against businesses “is wrong.”

Since Floyd died last Tuesday, protesters have vandalized, looted and burned down more than 200 stores in Minneapolis. On Friday and Saturday, the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte North Carolina.

In Minnesota, protesters maintained a daily vigil in front of the Cup Foods store at 3759 Chicago Avenue, painting walls and the street with murals and graffiti in memory of Floyd. After four nights of confrontations in the city, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s national guard on Saturday for the first time since the Second World War.

US President Donald Trump said troops could be deployed if local authorities requested their help. “We could have our military there very quickly,” he said.