As Shakeel Gaya prepared to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr this year, a verse from the Qur’an stood out from the others.
The words of the Prophet Muhammad from Surah An-Nisa’ that speak of the link between all mankind spoke to him.
Black or white, Christian, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, are all one.
“Don’t judge each other on half-truth or a lack of knowledge,” says Gaya, with the Islamic Society of Ridge Meadows.
This week, the prophet’s words could not be more poignant.
Protests over an American film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad spread to a number of countries in the Muslim world on Thursday, including Yemen, Egypt and Iran.
They follow Tuesday night’s attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
As flags burn and violence flashes on televisions screen, Gaya proposes a solution.
“We have to reach out to the community,” he says. Bringing people together contributes to an understand between community rather than suspicion, he adds.
Eid fell on Aug. 19 this year, and marks the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of abstinence for Muslims.
Ramadan is a time for spiritual purification achieved through fasting, self-sacrifice and prayers, similar to the Christian tradition of Lent that precedes Easter.
Eid-ul-Fitr, which literally means the feast of fast breaking, is a time to give charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends. It is also a time for truces, when warring nations and tribes have traditionally laid down arms, delivering a month of peace.
Gaya and the Islamic Society of Ridge Meadows says it only fitting to share the celebration of Eid, albeit a few weeks later, with the wider community in a feast planned at the Maple Ridge library on Saturday.
The event will draw together many Muslims who live in Maple Ridge but hail from every corner of the world – Pakistan, India, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysian, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Russia.
The celebrations has been held in Maple Ridge for the past four years.
The Maple Ridge library and the Islamic Society of Ridge Meadows host an Eid festival on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The event will feature food from different countries, henna painting and information about Islam.
The event is free, but participants are encouraged to bring a donations for the Friends In Need Food Bank.
For more information, call the Maple library at 604-467-7417.