Muslims mark Eid festival with gathering in central London
Thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square on Saturday to celebrate the Muslim Festival of Eid.
Festivities got under way around noon with musicians, comedians and speakers taking to the stage erected at the foot of Nelson’s column.
The event, hosted by comedian Ali Official and model Mariah Idrissi, kicked off with a reading from the Koran from speaker Hassan Rasool.
Official, 30, said: “British Muslims often feel quite neglected from the media limelight so to have an event solely representing us right in the heart of London and Trafalgar Square means so much.”
Speaking about the timing of the event, which falls the week before the royal coronation, he said: “I think that mixed-up blend of being British and being Muslim, and not having to choose which side you’re on is really represented here today.”
This year’s festival comes in the wake of violence erupting in the Muslim country of Sudan between military and militia forces on April 15.
A jubilant atmosphere in London was touched with sadness as performers offered prayers for Sudan.
The Eid in Trafalgar Square event comes a week after the date of Eid on April 21.
Eid al-Fitr, which means the festival of sweets, marks the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting and prayer for Muslims.
The day’s entertainment involved music, poetry and comedy performances as well as an eclectic variety of food vehicles serving up fragrant dishes from India, Somali, Uzbekistan and more.
This year’s theme supported Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Love For Everyone campaign, which focuses on family and bringing communities together for the celebration.
Mr Khan urged the Government to “continue to help” British citizens trapped in Sudan, despite the final evacuation flight scheduled to take off at 6pm today UK time.
Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “We know there are many Londoners whose country of origin is Sudan, and there are many Londoners who are really worried about their families and friends stuck in Sudan.
“It’s really important that the Foreign office continues to help those Brits and Londoners who are stuck in Sudan.
“We’re celebrating Eid, but we remember those struggling in Sudan and all across the world whether its Ukraine, Turkey or Syria.”