The first ever celebration in Trafalgar Square to mark the Muslim festival of Eid Ul Fitr will take place on Saturday 28 October from 1pm to 5pm. Eid Ul Fitr marks the end of Ramadan the month of fasting observed by millions of Muslims across the world, including London. The phrase literally means 'breaking of fast', with celebrations taking place that bring communities, families and friends together.
Eid in the Square is being organised by the Muslim Council of Britain and the Mayor of London. This event will include live entertainment, a street bazaar and exhibitions and displays about Islam. It is free and open to all Londoners.
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, said: 'Eid Ul Fitr is the most auspicious day of the Muslim calendar. It is a day of great joy and serves as a reminder to people of all faiths of the importance of peace, compassion, unity and charity.
'Islam is one of the world's great cultures which has made incalculable contributions to world science, learning, literature, art and commerce from which every country benefits. London's Muslim communities continue to make a major contribution to London's success as a great world city. It is therefore fitting that this year's Eid celebrations, will, for the first time, take place in Trafalgar Square. 'London's prosperity as the world's greatest international business centre, as well as its social harmony, entirely depends on our ability to welcome and respect people from all over the world. In London everyone is welcome to be themselves and to express their religious and cultural identity as long as they do not infringe the freedom of others. London will not be diverted from this course of tolerance by calls for cultural and religious discrimination by any politicians and sections of the media.
'The fact that London celebrates Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh culture on our central square is a symbol of this city's celebration of its cultural diversity and international reach and the right of Londoners to follow any religion or none.
'I am happy to be hosting this celebration with the Muslim Council of Britain which is the most representative and largest umbrella group of Muslim organisations in Britain.
'I hope that Londoners from all communities will take this opportunity to join London's Muslim communities in celebrating Eid and know that the Muslim community particularly welcomes Londoners of all faiths to participate in their great festival.'
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, commented: 'The Muslim Council of Britain is delighted to be working with the Mayor of London in welcoming Londoners from all backgrounds to the Eid in the Square event to commemorate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.'
Those taking part include Shaykh Ahmad Saad, a graduate of the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Egypt and an official imam for Egypt's Ministry of Awqaaf (Religious Endowments); Shaam, who are one of the leading exponents of nasheeds, Islamic songs that they sing in English, Arabic and Urdu; the UK's first and most successful Islamic hip hop and ragga group Mecca2Medina; Nazeel Azami, who draws on vocal and harmonic traditions of India and the Middle East and who has just released his first album 'Dunya'.
The celebrations also include up and coming UK based artist Shahid Falahi and Message Cultural Group, a popular Asian band committed to reviving the Islamic spirit through songs, drama and literature, who perform in Bangla, English, Urdu and Arabic. There will also be a special video by the UK based international star Sami Yusuf, who has received acclaim as a multi-instrumentalist and singer.
London Mayor's office
Event: Eid in Trafalgar Square
Date: Saturday 28 October 2006
Time: 1pm – 5pm
Entry: FREE – all welcome
Information: www.london.gov.uk; 020 7983 4100