Muslim world celebrates Ramadan amid clashes
DAMASCUS / BAGHDAD
Pakistani security officials stand guard during a Eid al-Fitr prayers. EPA photoMillions of Muslims across the world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr (Candy or Şeker Bayram) holiday yesterday amid clashes and blasts.
Vast crowds gathered at mosques, fireworks lit up the night sky and tens of millions headed home to villages to see their relatives and mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
In Syria, thousands held anti-government protests in mosques and cemeteries to mark the holiday as the clashes continue. In neighboring Iraq, a bomb struck the convoy of a senior Sunni cleric in western Baghdad, killing at least one person and critically wounding the Muslim leader. Two car bombs exploded in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, killing two people and injuring several others early in the day, a security official said.
Morsi changes tradition
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi reversed a trend of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, who rarely appeared in crowded mosques. Morsi performed prayers in the Omar ibn al-Aas Mosque in a working-class area in southern Cairo.
In Afghanistan, the holiday began with an early morning bomb explosion in a cemetery in the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah that killed two people and wounded seven others. In China, Muslims in the restive western region of Xinjiang visited the tombs of dead relatives and left offerings of food after morning prayers.
In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak opened his official residence in Kuala Lumpur to the public for the start of festivities, with tens of thousands of people attending, among them foreign dignitaries and tourists. In Dagestan, a suicide bomber killed at least seven policemen attending the funeral of a colleague in Russia’s volatile Caucasus region of Ingushetia. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama wished Muslims well for Eid.
“Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. Obama said the celebrations in America enrich the national life, strengthen the democracy and uphold their freedoms.