President Waheed calls for public unity, solidarity in Eid ul-Fitr message

President Dr Mohamed Waheed has called for unity and solidarity among Maldivians on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr.

In a statement issued today, President Waheed called on those campaigning ahead of next month’s election to avoid sewing “discord” among the public, requesting that all parties adhered to democratic principles in the build up to, and during, voting.

The president personally pledged his commitment to ensuring a free and fair election next month, while also speaking of various development projects presently being overseen by his government.

President Waheed also today held a reception for members and assorted dignitaries of the public at Muleeaage.

State ministers, foreign diplomats, government officials, MPs civil servant and members of the general public were among those greeted by the president this morning, according to an official press release.

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Maldives celebrates Eid ul-fitr

Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef conducted prayers before a huge congregation in Male’ this morning, as thousands of Maldivians joined fellow Muslims across the globe in celebrating Eid ul-fitr (the festivity of breaking the fast).

Up to 50,000 people were reported to have attended the ceremony in the stadium area on Ameenee Magu at 7:00am.

The area, more commonly used for games of football, was prepared to accommodate male worshippers, whilst provisions were made for female worshippers in the adjoining track area.

During the 20 minute sermon, the Imam advised young people to be steadfast in their prayers and to avoid the intellectual war with which they are faced, reported local media.

Ameenee Magu was closed to traffic as tables were arranged, laden with food for the early-morning worshippers, celebrating the end of Ramazan and its month of daytime fasting.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s released a statement yesterday calling for unity and brotherhood over the holiday period, which runs for the three days following the end of Ramazan.

Waheed stressed the importance of strengthening family relations over the Eid period as well as placing national interests above personal ones.

The President, after attending this morning’s prayers, made his way to the official residence of the President, Muleeaage where he received members of the public after 9:30AM.

Along with the First Lady Madam Ilham Hussein, Waheed was visited by state ministers, members of parliament, state dignitaries and foreign diplomats.

Zakat – the giving of alms –  one of the five pillars of Islam, occurred before the Eid prayers.

Local media reported that 80,408 people paid Zakat in the Maldives this year, amounting to  MVR2.4 million (US$155,642) for distribution to the needy.

The ministry noted that a large number of people were paying Zakat through means other than the government.

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Eid ul-Fitr celebrated in the Maldives

The Maldives celebrated Eid ul-Fitr this week with prayer by day and parties by night. After a month of fasting for Ramadan, residents appear to be enjoying the capital island’s festive, social atmosphere.

The Islamic Ministry announced that Tuesday, August 30 was Eid ul-Fitr this year, and Male’ residents woke early on Tuesday morning to the sounds of heavy metal playing near the tsunami memorial. By late morning, the music had stopped and people were moving among houses and shops and a relaxed holiday atmosphere settled over the usually bustling city.

As ordered by the government, all private vehicles were parked and quiet between 3:30pm and 10:30pm. The traffic ordinance made it possible for residents to walk comfortably in the streets on a day when most of Male’ comes out for a stroll or to see the festivities.

The Islamic Ministry extended prayer space from the Islamic Center to Jetty 1 on Male’s northern side. Women could pray in extended space between the Dhiraagu head office to the Friday Mosque Minaret. Men were allowed to occupy all other areas.

Many Male residents traveled to home islands for Eid this year. But those who stayed enjoyed a range of sports, music and cultural activities.

Lagoons Sports Club organised “Maali Neshun” and “Bodumas Beynun”, Maldivian sporting events, on Boduthakurufaanu Magu and Ameenee Magu on Tuesday afternoon.

In “Maali Neshun”, masked participants dressed in ash and palm leaves walked Male’s roads and frightened parade onlookers in jest.

Two fishermen in “Bodumas Beynun” used magic, or fanditha, to catch a large woven fish.

In the evening, Male’s youth and married couples were to be found in hoards at the live music show in the Raalhugandu area, which was sponsored by local telecommunications company Dhiraagu.

Local bands such as 1knightstand, Harubee, and MNDF Cops Band took the stage alongside solo artists like Unoosha and Easa. The concert, which featured a range of musical tastes from soft rock to metal, rap and ska, began around 10 pm and continued past 2 in the morning.

Just around the corner near Bodufungandu Magu, palm tree road blocks protected a street rave featuring drums and traditional dancers. Young people and families were seen, and heard, celebrating into the late hours of the night.

The five-day period of Eid continues through Sunday. Although business is expected to return to its normal, pre-Ramadan state on Monday, Maldivians are looking forward to a second, longer Eid celebration before the end of the year.

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