Labor leaders ask Muslims to remember refugees around the world on Eid of Sacrifice

SYDNEY (Australia) – Thousands of people flocked to Sydney’s Lakemba mosque to mark the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. On first day of Eid, September 24, roads were closed around Lakemba mosque to accommodate about 15,000 people, who gathered to pray and celebrate the Eid al-Adha festival, in honour of the Islamic prophet Abraham.

Eid ul Adha festivity offer a chance for families to come together and share the meal. Eid celebrations continue across the weekend with families visiting each other and exchanging gifts.

But for refugees fleeing conflict, the occasion is much harder to celebrate.

“It’s a moment for us to celebrate, to forget the negative things that happen around the world at the moment, to bring the family together,” however, he said the celebrations were “bittersweet” given that atrocities were going on elsewhere, one attendee said.

“We are spending the Eid here in our houses, we have nothing and brought nothing for the occasion,” one Syrian woman in a refugee camp in Lebanon said. “Eid here is normal, just like any other day, nothing new.”

“It’s sad, we’re trying to celebrate, but we have [those world tragedies] in the background. You can’t forget about what’s happening,” he said.

This sad reminder is something that is on the mind of Mona Abdelraheem too.

“We’re so blessed to be here, the safety and security that we have here,” she said. “But at the same time it really does break your heart knowing that other people can’t celebrate the way we are celebrating.”

A Syrian refugee child who fled the violence from the Syrian town of Flita, near Yabroud, poses for a photograph at the border town of Arsal in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon situated along the border with Syria

A Syrian refugee child who fled the violence from the Syrian town of Flita, near Yabroud, poses for a photograph at the border town of Arsal in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon situated along the border with Syria

Labor senator Sam Dastyari, NSW deputy Labor leader Linda Burney and Lakemba MP Jihad Dib all addressed the crowd.

“We have been going through a very tough time but the tough times only make you stronger,” Mr Dib said.

“Take the time on this Eid of Sacrifice to think of others, those at the moment who are refugees, who are homeless, stateless, hungry, and a special prayer for those who are sick and those who are needy.”

Ms Burney, who is the local Member for nearby Canterbury, said the peaceful and diverse Eid celebrations in Lakemba were a testament to Australian multiculturalism.  “We have in this world many, many places that are experiencing dreadful outcomes and I think our area, our community, and your community has something that could teach the rest of the world,” she said.  “We should be proud … we should hold that up as a symbol of what can be done in terms of tolerance and respect.”

Source: ABC News and SBS