Eid celebrated in Harlem
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 8/23/2012, 4:08 p.m.
In honor of Eid ul-Fitr, state Sen. Bill Perkins of Harlem hosted the fifth annual Eid Celebration at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building Plaza on Monday. The celebration brought out dozens from Harlem's Muslim faith community as well as participants from other religions.
The outdoor program featured prayers, rappers, singers, poets and Quranic recitations. Performers included rapper Rasul Miller, poet Nichole "Najmah 53" Abraham and singer Rashidah Mbaye.
Eid is the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. During the monthlong observance, Muslims around the world fast from dawn until sunset. During this time, Muslims reflect on faith and also consider those who are needy.
There are estimated to be over 600,000 Muslims and nearly 175 mosques in New York City. In Harlem there are several mosques, with many participating at Monday's event, including Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, Masjid Aqsa and the Harlem Islamic Cultural Center.
Perkins said it was necessary to host the Eid Celebration because of the number of Muslims in Harlem and the importance of the Islamic community. He also recognized the diversity of the local Muslim community, which includes Africans, Latinos, Arabs and African-Americans. Perkins himself fasted during Ramadan.
"It's an honor truly for us to join the Islamic community in celebration of their faith and their contributions to the community," he said. "The Islamic presence in Harlem has been much longer than five years, but it has never been celebrated in the public square. We felt that this would be an opportunity to have the community be a part of this celebration."
City Councilman Robert Jackson, who is Muslim, also participated in Monday's celebration.
After the outdoor program, participants went into the State Office Building for a feast with food provided by Melba's 125 and Keur Sokhna Restaurant.