‘When we were growing up, it just wasn’t there’: Disney Junior show highlights importance of Eid al-Fitr

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WATCH ABOVE: Thursday is Ei al-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and an episode of Disney Junior’s 'Mira, Royal Detective' is highlighting the importance of the celebration. Actor Rizwan Manji and his daughter Ayana Manji both star in the episode and speak about its significance – May 13, 2021

A new episode of Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective is highlighting the importance of the celebration of Eid al-Fitr and educating children about Islamic holiday.

Canadian actor Rizwan Manji plays Mr. Khan on the animated series and on this episode his daughter, Ayana Manji, voiced the role of Sadia Khan, who teaches Mira about the festival.

“For my song, I’m explaining what Eid is about … I’m teaching Mira and we go around and try to find out the mystery of the Eidi envelope. During that I’m explaining everything about Eid,” said Ayana.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Mississauga mosque celebrates socially distant Eid with drive-thru gift handouts

Eid al-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, in which people go without food or drink from sunrise to sunset.

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Ayana said while the episode is part of a children’s television series, it can also teach adults about the celebration of Eid.

“It’s meant for kids so it’s easy and they will understand it but adults can also learn from this because it’s explaining to them what it is and what Eid is supposed to be about,” she said.

READ MORE: Muslim communities in Edmonton adapt to celebrate Eid al-Fitr amid COVID-19 restrictions

Rizwan said he was moved to tears when he saw the episode.

“I got strangely emotional about it. I think it’s because when I was growing up, I had such a thirst for this. I wanted to see this when I was growing up,” he said.

“So to see that my kids could see this and … that my kids are a part of it now, it was all these things, all these emotions, together. I started crying and I was like, ‘What is happening to me? … When we were growing up, it just wasn’t there.”

Rizwan said he is happy to see a push to diversify television and it is something he has seen at different networks and studios.

“I’m seeing more and more diversity in a whole bunch of different networks and studios. We have streaming shows that are talking about the South Asian culture, there are shows talking about Islam,” he said.

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“We have places to go, but I think it is definitely a positive trajectory.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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