Event at U celebrates Islamic holiday

The University’s Al-Madinah Cultural Center sponsored an event Saturday celebrating the Islamic holiday Eid Al-Adha. The event, called Eid Rageous, educated others about the holiday and the different ways various cultures celebrate it.

Approximately 250 people attended the event, which featured a free dinner that included food from many Islamic countries.

“The main thing we want out of this is to get the Muslims and non-Muslims together and let everyone understand what Eid Al-Adha is and where it comes from,” said center member and event master of ceremonies Shahzad Ali.

The event, which took place at the St. Paul Student Center, included student groups such as the Bangladesh Student Association, Pakistani Student Association, Somali Student Association and Muslim Student Association.

Each group educated the guests about its culture and how it celebrates the holiday by showcasing cultural clothes, food, games and artifacts. Later, the groups showed slide shows, sang songs, played musical instruments and gave speeches about the various countries celebrating Eid Al-Adha.

“Eid Al-Adha represents the significance of the sacrifice to Allah,” said Khaled El-Sawaf, a Muslim Student Association officer. “We take the story of prophet Abraham as a model in our lives, recognizing how much he did, how little he wanted; yet, he was still willing to continue to sacrifice for the sake of Allah.”

The event began with reciting Quran verses. Hamdy El-Sawaf, Islamic Center of Minnesota executive director, gave a speech about the meaning of the holiday. He emphasized the importance of brotherhood and sisterhood, equality, unity and how everyone can sacrifice something in their lives to benefit others.

He stressed the importance of patience, hope and gratefulness. El-Sawaf also explained the meaning of Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage, which ends each year with the holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

“One thing I hope people will take away with them today is everything they have learned about the diversity of Islam, with all the different cultures we have,” said event organizer and University student Fathiya Jeylani.

During the event, a few students sold buttons and T-shirts to raise money for victims of the recent tsunami.

The students were independent of any organization and were doing it as an example of the sacrifice Muslims must make for others, said University student Taqee Khaled.

He said the money raised will be donated to UNICEF funds to help orphans struck by the tsunami.

He said taking care of orphans is a Muslim responsibility.

By the end of the night, the T-shirts were sold out, he said.

Sumaiya Mamdani, Al-Madinah Cultural Center’s vice president and main organizer, said it took approximately a month to organize and plan for the event.

She said one of the main reasons the event took place is to give people a chance to get together and meet new people on campus and in the University community.

“Muslims are so diverse and have so many different ways of celebrating the same event,” she said. “I hope that people not only had a good time celebrating the holiday together but also learning about each other’s culture.”

She said she thought the event was very successful despite the lack of time to advertise it.

“Surprisingly, a lot of people came, and it seems like everyone had a great time and everyone really enjoyed the event,” she said. “So I’m really happy that it was a great turnout.”

University student Suzie Gad, one of the event volunteers, said she thought it “went really well and was better than expected.”