Muslims in Sao Paulo celebrate Eid-al-Fitr in Latin America’s oldest mosque

Global Business

Friday marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan – when Muslims observe fasting from sunrise to sunset to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to prophet Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.

Celebrations of the Eid al Fitr – the end of the fasting – take place all over the world. In Sao Paulo, about 4,000 Muslims gathered in the city’s main mosque – the Mesquita Brasil.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

“Thank God there is a Muslim community and a mosque here for us. The Muslim community helps a lot to live in peace here in Brazil but also helps us to feel as if we were still in Syria,” Muna Darweesh, a Syrian Refugee who came with her family to Brazil about 5 years ago said.

After the prayer it’s time for the meal that breaks the end the month-long fasting. It’s an opportunity for the Muslim community in Brazil – mostly of Arabic origin – to come together and celebrate their religion and their culture.

“There are Muslims from many different countries here… From Lebanon, from Syria, from Morocco and from other nations. So it’s beautiful to see all the people celebrating the end Ramadan and praying together in the mosque”, said the Palestinian immigrant, Nour Eddin Abdalla, who’s in Brazil for 15 years.

The Mesquita do Brasil in Sao Paulo is the oldest mosque in Latin America. It was originally built in 1929 by a group of Lebanese immigrants.

To this day, it is a magnet for Muslims from all over Brazil – as a sacred place to practice their Islamic faith.

According to estimates by the mosque’s staff, about 80 percent of the people who worship here are of Lebanese origin – by far the largest Arabic community in Brazil. Another five percent are Syrians — and the remainder made up of a mix of people from many different countries – including a notable contingent from Africa.

“Actually people from a lot of places around Brazil come here and they can feel like a big family. Because you know we live in a country that is not Muslim. So it’s not easy to feel that, it’s not as if you were living in a Muslim country”, said Mesquita do Brasil spokesperson, Mohammed Sabouni.

With Ramadan now over, it’s time for observant Muslims to celebrate with their community – no matter what part of the world they are from – or where they find themselves today.