Muslims at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in Paterson, New Jersey celebrated Eid al-Fitr with masks and prayers outdoors on Thursday (May 13), as the conflict between Israel and Gaza cast shadows over the festival’s mass gathering.
“We celebrate this with very, very heavy hearts because our brothers and sisters in Palestine are suffering,” said mortgage broker Zaher Barkawi. “This is the greatest injustice of the 21st century. It’s time for the world to wake up. The Israelis are practicing apartheid against a very, very, very, very proud and good people.”
The imam of the mosque, Mohammad Qatanani, urged Israel to “stop all this anguish and oppression against our people in Palestine.”
In Gaza the usual excitement of Eid turned to mourning for some after a heavy night of Israeli air strikes during the fiercest flare-up in years. Medics have put the death toll in the enclave at 83 so far this week.
Rockets and missiles in dizzying numbers have been exchanged since Monday (May 10) between Hamas militants in Gaza and Israel’s military across the enclave’s boundary, after the latest tensions related to land ownership in Jerusalem erupted into conflict.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
(Production: Hussein Al Waaile, Roselle Chen)