Iftar festival worldwide : Restrictions in China

Students sit in circles as they attend a Quran recital class during the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Ar-Raudlatul Hasanah Islamic Boarding School in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Monday, May 6.

Monday, May 6, marked the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.. The tradition began in the seventh century and commemorates the month when the Prophet Mohammed retreated to a cave north of Mecca for spiritual contemplation.
Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by praying during the night time and abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual acts during the period between sunrise and sunset.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is believed that the revelation of the first verse in the Quran was during its last 10 nights. The Quran describes this singular evening of worship as “better than a thousand months.” It marks the day when Muslims believe the angel Gabriel began giving Mohammed revelations from God.
Nearly 2 billion Muslims enter Ramadan this year to re-connect with God through fasting, praying extra dedications at home and in mosques in the evenings, and seeking forgiveness for trespasses. This heightened spiritual awareness brings communities and congregations together around the globe.
Mississauga mosque hosts taste of Ramadan Iftar
The Anatolia Islamic Centre in Mississauga, Ontario hosted a multi-faith Iftar dinner and local faith leaders joined the congregation to break the fast.
This was the third year that the Mississauga mosque hosted the multi-faith gathering themed ‘Taste of Ramadan.’
“I would like to thank you all for joining us today for the third annual ‘Taste of Ramadan Iftar Dinner’,” said Dr. Asim Hoca, Chairman of the Anatolia Islamic Center, in his welcoming remarks.
“We all share the same land, same life and same future,” he added. “The work that we do today will bear fruits for our children tomorrow.”
Dr. Hoca spoke of the need for religious communities to stand together and support each other at a time when there are terrorist attacks on houses of worship and the rise of hatred.
“An attack on any faith community is an attack on all of us,” noted Dr. Hoca. “Earlier this month, Anatolia Islamic Centre had the honor of being part of a peace ring around St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Erindale and I thank the people of the church who are with us today. We went there in solidarity with the Christian community in the city following the terrorist attacks on the churches in Sri Lanka.”
Religious leaders from the Sikh, Hindu, Jewish and Christian communities reflected on fasting within their religious traditions and brought greetings to the Muslim community on the occasion of Ramadan.
ANI Report
At Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Dana in Gujarat’s Surat, people across religions gathered on Thursday for Iftar, a post-fast meal during the holy month of Ramadan. For them, this sends a strong message on communal harmony in the community.
“I have been coming to this dargah for over five years. Many Hindus come to this dargah. It is a great symbol of religious harmony,” K Gheewala, a frequent visitor to the dargah told news agency ANI.
Another worshipper said, “I have been coming here for the last 38 years. The number of people coming here has always increased with time. Also, I see people belonging from different religions coming here and praying. Iftar is not just for Muslims, it is for all.”
Echoing similar sentiments, a worker at the dargah said year after year, people have been gathering at the dargah cutting across all religious barriers to sit and pray together.
“If one wants to see an example of religious harmony, then one should definitely visit this dargah,” he added.
During Ramadan, the devout observe rigorous fasting for about 30 days and do not consume food or water from dawn to dusk. They eat sehri (a pre-dawn meal) and break their day-long fast with Iftar in the evening. This year Ramadan in India began on May 7 and be completed by June 5 or June 6. Ramadan is practised by all Muslims irrespective of where they live.
Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan. The festival is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Milton, May 11, 2019 ): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday attended an iftar hosted by the Muslim community in Milton. His office shared images of the special Ramadan reach out, where Trudeau could be seen interacting with the minority community members and sharing iftar – the meal consumed to break fast – with them.
Trudeau, who faces elections this year, is known for his special personal reach out to members of the migrant community and minority faiths. Pollsters claim that he enjoys a solid rapport with the Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims – who form a significant electoral size in the country.
Muslims in the North American nation number just above a million. As per the recent census report, a total of 1,053,945 Muslims are residing in the nation — which comes close to 3.2 per cent of the overall population.
“Ramadan is about the values we all hold dear as Canadians – compassion, peace, and serving others. Last night, I joined members of the Muslim community in Milton to break fast – thank you for welcoming me to this special Iftar meal,” read the post on Trudeau’s social media account.
Ramadan 2019 commenced in Canada on May 6. Believing Muslims are duty-bound to fast from dawn to dusk. The fast involves an abstinence from food as well as water in the daylight hours. The holy month is succeeded by the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr, the biggest festival in Islam.
“Forgive my children for not fasting”-Ramadan in Xinjiang
— Amnesty International (3 May 2019)
Ramadan is here. Across the world, Muslims will begin fasting during daylight hours as part of this month-long observance.
But in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), Chinese authorities see fasting as a “sign of extremism”.
Open or even private displays of religious affiliation – including growing an “abnormal” beard, wearing a veil or headscarf, regular prayer, fasting or avoidance of alcohol – are categorized as “signs of extremism” in some locations.
Any of these can land you in one of Xinjiang’s internment camps, which the government calls “transformation-through-education centres” and are reportedly arbitrarily detaining up to 1 million people.
Numerous counties in Xinjiang have posted notices on government websites in recent years, stating that primary and secondary school students and Communist Party members were not permitted to observe Ramadan.
Mass internment and surveillance have intensified in recent years, but Muslim religious and cultural practices have long been discouraged in the region.
According to a regulation passed in 2017, people can be labelled “extremist” for refusing to watch public radio and TV programmes, wearing burqas or having an “abnormal” beard.
In April 2017, the government reportedly published a list of prohibited names, most of which were Islamic in origin, and required all children under 16 with these names to change them.
Well wishes from outside Xinjiang
This Ramadan, many Muslims in Xinjiang are separated from their loved ones – some are missing, while others are known to be in internment camps.
Radio Free Asia journalist Gulchehra Hoja left China 18 years ago. It was only after she moved to the United States that she was finally able to fully observe Ramadan. Speaking of her time in Xinjiang, she said:
“I remember only elderly people like my grandma were fasting and making dua (prayer) asking Allah to forgive her children for not fasting. Now it’s my turn to continue to pray for my family and the entire Uyghur people.”

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