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Muslims mark Eid al-Fitr vacation with pleasure, fear

CAIRO (AP) — For the Islamic vacation of Eid al-Fitr, the scent of freshly baked orange biscuits and powdered sugar-dusted cookies usually fills the air in Mona Abubakr’s house. However attributable to greater costs, the Egyptian housewife this 12 months made smaller portions of the candy treats, a few of which she provides as presents to family members and neighbors.

The mom of three has additionally tweaked one other custom this Eid, which started Monday in Egypt and plenty of nations and marks the top of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. She purchased fewer outfits for her sons to put on in the course of the three-day feast.

“I instructed them we now have to compromise on some issues so as to have the ability to afford different issues,” she mentioned.

This 12 months, Muslims all over the world are observing Eid al-Fitr — usually marked with communal prayers, celebratory gatherings round festive meals and new garments — within the shadow of a surge in world meals costs exacerbated by the warfare in Ukraine. In opposition to that backdrop, many are nonetheless decided to benefit from the vacation amid easing of coronavirus restrictions of their nations whereas, for others, the festivities are dampened by battle and financial hardship.

On the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, tens of 1000’s of Muslims attended prayers Monday morning. The Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta was shuttered when Islam’s holiest interval coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and was closed to communal prayers final 12 months.

“Phrases can’t describe how comfortable I’m immediately after two years we have been separated by pandemic. At present we will do Eid prayer collectively once more,” mentioned Epi Tanjung after he and his spouse worshipped at one other Jakarta mosque. “Hopefully all of this may make us extra trustworthy.”

The temper was festive at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque the place individuals congregated for the Eid prayer on Monday. One man threw lollipops within the air for teenagers to catch in celebration, earlier than the prayer began, whereas different kids performed with balloons.

“I used to be actually comfortable at seeing the gathering and the enjoyment of the individuals for Eid,” mentioned one worshipper, Marwan Taher. “The environment right here actually made me really feel prefer it’s Eid.”

The warfare in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia have disrupted provides of grain and fertilizer, driving up meals costs at a time when inflation was already raging. A variety of Muslim-majority nations are closely reliant on Russia and Ukraine for a lot of their wheat imports, as an example.

Even earlier than the Russian invasion, an unexpectedly sturdy world restoration from the 2020 coronavirus recession had created provide chain bottlenecks, inflicting delivery delays and pushing costs of meals and different commodities greater.

In some nations, the fallout from the warfare in Ukraine is simply including to the woes of these already affected by turmoil, displacement or poverty.

In Syria’s rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, Ramadan this 12 months was tougher than Ramadans previous. Abed Yassin mentioned he, his spouse and three kids now obtain half the quantities of merchandise — together with chickpeas, lentils, rice and cooking oil — which final 12 months they used to get from an support group. It has made life tougher.

Syria’s economic system has been hammered by warfare, Western sanctions, corruption and an financial meltdown in neighboring Lebanon the place Syrians have billions of {dollars} caught in Lebanese banks.

Within the Gaza Strip, although streets and markets are bustling, many say they can’t afford a lot.

“The state of affairs is tough,” mentioned Um Musab, a mom of 5, as she toured a conventional market in Gaza Metropolis. “Staff barely make a dwelling however the remainder of the persons are crushed.”

Mahmoud al-Madhoun, who purchased some date paste, flour and oil to make Eid cookies, mentioned monetary situations have been going from unhealthy to worse. “Nonetheless, we’re decided to rejoice,” he added.

The Palestinian enclave, which depends closely on imports, was already susceptible earlier than the Ukraine warfare because it had been beneath a good Israeli-Egyptian blockade meant to isolate Hamas, its militant rulers.

Afghans are celebrating the primary Eid for the reason that Taliban takeover amid grim safety and financial situations. Many have been cautious however poured into Kabul’s largest mosques for prayers on Sunday, when the vacation began there, amid tight safety.

Frequent explosions marred the interval resulting in Eid. These included deadly bombings, most claimed by the Islamic State affiliate often known as IS in Khorasan Province, focusing on ethnic Hazaras who’re largely Shiites, leaving lots of them debating whether or not it was protected to attend Eid prayers at mosques.

“We need to present our resistance, that they can’t push us away,” mentioned neighborhood chief Dr. Bakr Saeed earlier than Eid. “We’ll go ahead.”

Violence wasn’t the one trigger for fear. Because the Taliban takeover in August, Afghanistan’s economic system has been in a freefall with meals costs and inflation hovering.

At a charity meals distribution heart in Kabul on Saturday, Din Mohammad, a father of 10, mentioned he anticipated this Eid to be his worst.

“With poverty, nobody can have a good time Eid like up to now,” he mentioned. “I want we had jobs and work so we may purchase one thing for ourselves, not have to attend for individuals to provide us meals.”

Muslims comply with a lunar calendar, and methodologies, together with moon sighting, can result in completely different nations — or Muslim communities — declaring the beginning of Eid on completely different days.

In Iraq, safety points additionally plague celebrations, with safety forces occurring excessive alert from Sunday to Thursday to avert potential assaults after a suicide bombing in Baghdad final 12 months forward of one other main Islamic vacation killed dozens.

In India, the nation’s Muslim minority is reeling from vilification by hard-line Hindu nationalists who’ve lengthy espoused anti-Muslim stances, with some inciting towards Muslims. Tensions boiled over into violence at Ramadan, together with stone-throwing between Hindu and Muslim teams. Muslim preachers cautioned the trustworthy to stay vigilant throughout Eid, which will probably be noticed there on Tuesday.

Indian Muslims “are proactively making ready themselves to cope with the worst,” mentioned Ovais Sultan Khan, a rights activist. “Nothing is because it was for Muslims in India, together with the Eid.”

Nonetheless, many Muslims elsewhere rejoiced in reviving rituals disrupted by pandemic restrictions.

Hundreds of thousands of Indonesians have crammed into trains, ferries and buses forward of Eid as they poured out of main cities to have a good time with their households in villages on the earth’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. The return of the custom of homecoming precipitated nice pleasure after two years of subdued festivities attributable to pandemic restrictions.

“The eager for (the) Eid celebration in a standard approach has lastly been relieved immediately though the pandemic has not but ended,” mentioned Hadiyul Umam, a resident of Jakarta.

Many within the capital flocked to procuring facilities to purchase garments, footwear and sweets earlier than the vacation regardless of pandemic warnings and meals worth surges.

Muslims in Malaysia have been additionally in a celebratory temper after their nation’s borders absolutely reopened and COVID-19 measures have been additional loosened. Ramadan bazaars and procuring malls have been full of customers forward of Eid and plenty of traveled to their hometowns.

“It’s a blessing that we will now return to have a good time,” mentioned gross sales supervisor Fairuz Mohamad Talib, who works in Kuala Lumpur. His household will have a good time at his spouse’s village, the place they deliberate to go to neighbors.

“It’s not about feasting however about getting collectively,” he mentioned forward of the vacation. With COVID-19 nonetheless on his thoughts, the household will take precautions comparable to sporting masks throughout visits. “There will probably be no handshakes, simply fist bumps.”

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Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia, and Gannon from Kabul, Afghanistan. Related Press journalists Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Wafaa Shurafa in Gaza Metropolis, Gaza Strip; Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India; Bassem Mroue in Beirut; Samya Kullab in Baghdad; Ahmed Hatem in Cairo and Paul Wiseman in Washington contributed reporting.

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Related Press faith protection receives help by the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely liable for this content material.

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