All wel­come to Eid Day

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

WHEN Naima Ali saw Auck­land for the first time she thought she had ar­rived in Dis­ney­land.

It was the year 2000 and the city was lit up with fire­works cel­e­brat­ing the new mil­len­nium when Ali, then aged 9, and her fam­ily flew in from war-torn So­ma­lia.

‘‘Our par­ents turned to us and said: ‘This is where we’re go­ing to live.’ We were so ex­cited, we thought it was Dis­ney­land. It was a mean­ing­ful mem­ory.’’

Fast for­ward 14 years and Ali is set­tled in Mt Roskill with her mum, broth­ers and sis­ters. She is a com­mu­nity youth leader at a not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion called Refugee Youth Ac­tion Net­work, which sup­ports and em­pow­ers youth aged 12 to 24 through ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment. And like many mi­grants, she is will­ing to lend a hand when needed.

Ev­ery year the 23-year-old vol­un­teers at Auck­land Eid Day at Eden Park.

This year up to 10,000 Mus­lims are ex­pected to at­tend the event to cel­e­brate Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the 30-day fast through the Is­lamic holy month of Ra­madan.

The event will be held on July 28 or 29, de­pend­ing on the moon, and starts with tra­di­tional prayer fol­lowed by games, food stalls, ed­u­ca­tional dis­plays and a col- lec­tion of stage shows with cul­tural per­for­mances.

Ali says she looks for­ward to Ra­madan, in which Mus­lims fast from sun­rise to sun­set.

The fam­ily dec­o­rates the house and an­tic­i­pates the sight­ing of the moon which marks the start of the holy month. In the evenings, the fam­ily sits down to a mod­est meal of dates, samosas and fruit, and prayers are re­cited five times a day.

‘‘There’s teach­ing in fast­ing, such as pa­tience, re­mem­ber­ing those who are op­pressed or have lit­tle,’’ Ali says.

‘‘Ev­ery­body feels up­lifted. Ev­ery­body is kind. Ev­ery­body is so thank­ful for the bless­ings that they have.’’

Co-or­di­nated by the AlMa­nar Trust, the fam­ily event aims to bring to­gether the Mus­lim com­mu­nity to en­joy Eid, ob­served by Mus­lims world­wide.

‘‘For Mus­lims, Eid is con­sid­ered one of the most ex­cit­ing days on the Is­lamic cal­en­dar, no mat­ter where you are around the world,’’ Auck­land Eid Day project man­ager Ouad­hah Ragued says.

‘‘We wanted to give our com­mu­nity an Eid to look for­ward to and re­mem­ber right here in Auck­land.’’

Auck­land Eid Day, Eden Park, July 28 or 29, 8am4pm.

Up­lift­ing month: Naima Ali is a reg­u­lar vol­un­teer at Auck­land Eid Day which marks the end of the Is­lamic holy month of Ra­madan.

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