Thousands attend Kingston, Ont., Eid celebration

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Thousands attend Kingston, Ont., Eid celebration
Thousands descended on Kingston's Cataraqui Arena Wednesday morning as the Islamic Society of Kingston held its annual Eid al-Fitr prayer and celebration – Apr 10, 2024

Kingston’s Islamic community came together Wednesday morning to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

As people gathered in the Cataraqui arena ahead of this morning’s prayer, it was evident that the city’s Muslim community is growing and thriving.

“It gives us a lot of inner happiness that the community in Kingston is growing,” said Islamic Centre of Kingston Imam Abu Bakr Mulla.

On Wednesday morning, Muslim people across the world rejoiced as the holy month of Ramadan came to an end.

The month is marked by sun-up to sundown fasting, in recognition of the struggles of others and is a deeply personal religious practice.

The holy month is capped off by Eid al-Fitr, a celebratory day of togetherness and food.

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“In Ramadan we were not eating during the day time, now we can enjoy, we can have some food, spend time with family, eat, drink, relax,” said Mulla.

The Islamic Society of Kingston organized a morning prayer to kick off the celebration, but over the course of the past few years, the Muslim community in Kingston has simply outgrown the mosque on Sydenham Road, something that was made evident by the sheer number of people who attended Wednesday’s ceremony.

For Khalid Osman, who arrived in Kingston 25 years ago by way of Sudan, it would have once been hard to believe an Eid celebration in Kingston could cause a traffic jam.

“Twenty-five years ago we were only about four or five families in Kingston but not more than 1000 prayers [people praying] here and now there’s almost more than … I have no idea, but a lot of community here,” said Osman.

For 16-year-old Jana Badawi, this year’s Eid celebration feels like a special one.

“It feels like Eid, it feels like what Eid should be, a celebration, happiness, meeting with others,” she said.

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Despite her young age, Badawi says she, too, has noticed the ever-growing Muslim community in Kingston.

“To have such a big community that makes you feel like you’re a part of something, that truly you can celebrate even if the whole country doesn’t necessarily celebrate,”

For Imam Mulla, Eid is a perfect opportunity to get out and to meet some of the many new faces.

He said he’s proud to see the growth of the local Muslim community.

“The community in Kingston is growing as we’ve come from other, larger communities, it allows us to see the community of Kingston now growing in those larger numbers as well,”

It’s grown so much, Mulla admits he’s unable to meet and greet with the thousands who attend.

When you compare that to the half a dozen families from 25 years ago, it underscores just how much the Muslim community is thriving in the Limestone City.

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