Moon sighting marks end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan

By Lincoln Tan

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a meal. Photo / File
Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a meal. Photo / File

Muslims in New Zealand are today celebrating Eid ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

The end of the month of fasting was confirmed last night after the moon was sighted according to Islamic rules by the religious hilal committee.

About 10,000 Muslims are expected to gather at Auckland's ASB showgrounds from 9am for prayers, food and celebrations.

Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said it was important that the many cultures and religions within New Zealand were recognised and acknowledged.

"Eid ul-Fitr gives all New Zealanders the opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution the Muslim community makes to our nation's religious, cultural and ethnic landscape," he said.

Mr Lotu-Iiga said interfaith knowledge and religious tolerance were critical to maintaining a socially cohesive society.

"The iftar, or breaking-the-fast dinners, provide an opportunity for us to build relationships between communities and promote understanding and awareness of the Islamic culture," he said.

"Celebrating traditions are necessary so all New Zealanders gain a better understanding of the different communities around them."

New Zealand's first Muslim family arrived in the 1850s.

More than 45,000 New Zealanders now identify themselves as Muslim.

(END)

- NZ Herald

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