At home in Malaysia, refugees celebrate country’s multiculturalism this Eid

At home in Malaysia, refugees celebrate country’s multiculturalism this Eid

KUALA LUMPUR: Refugees from across Malaysia celebrated Eid with locals at the Bukit Indah Ampang Mosque, near Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.

“We want Malaysians to come and mingle with the refugees, making new friends and getting to know why they are here in the first place,” said Rahman.

The 11 refugee communities participating in the gathering, he added, including the Rohingya, Syrian, Afghan, Sudanese, Uighur, Yemeni, Somali, Pakistan, Iraqi and Palestinian communities, were pleased with the event. Each community received livestock donated by locals for the gathering.

“We want them to experience the Eid Al-Adha and ritual sacrifice again, as if they were in their own countries. All the 11 communities have to slaughter their own cows and sheep,” Rahman added.

There are currently about 180,000 refugees registered by the UN living in Malaysia, and many more undocumented refugees. Malaysia has become the destination of choice for many Muslim refugees as the country is majority Muslim and sympathetic to their plight.

“It had been a hard struggle because of the war,” Mohamed Ali, 24, a Somali who has been living in Malaysia for the past three years told Arab News.

He claimed Malaysia has been welcoming toward him as a refugee, and that the gathering had brough together Muslims from a diverse group of cultures and nationalities. “Back home in Somalia, I only celebrated Eid Al-Adha with other Somalis. The best experience is the community sharing,” he said, adding that he hoped to share Somali culture such as singing and dancing with his friends.

“I enjoyed my time very much here because I see a lot of Muslims from different countries and I can meet the locals too,” said 38-years old Marzia Parsa.

She told Arab News that back home, she also celebrated Eid Al-Adha with her family and community. “We would slaughter sheep and cows, and cooked dinner and lunch together,” said Parsa, an Afghan Hazara who fled to Malaysia two years ago.

Malaysian activist Zuhri bin Yuhyi, 38, secretary-general of the group “Malaysia4Uyghur,” told Arab News that many of the Uighur community in Malaysia were spread out and the actual number is unknown. However, members of the Uighur community joined the Eid Al-Adha celebrations.

Bin Yuhyi said that unlike other refugee communities, the experience of performing ritual sacrifice for the Uighur community is relatively new. “They have not had the chance to practice their religion in Xinjiang,” he said.

“Refugees have pride and they do not want to just be on the receiving end.  At this event, they got to participate and feel that they are part of the community in Malaysia.”

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