An emotional end to Ramadan for Palestinian Amsterdam Suleiman: “A party with a taste of sadness”

An emotional end to Ramadan for Palestinian Amsterdam Suleiman: “A party with a taste of sadness”

The month of Ramadan has ended and this means that Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Fitr is celebrated today. For Amsterdam Palestinian Suleiman Abu Amara, there is no reason to celebrate as he used to, but rather a shy celebration.

Not only during Ramadan, but every day for months, he worried about the fate of his family members and all those affected in Gaza. For the first time in 25 years, he decided to fast again in solidarity with the people there. “Ramadan made me really close to them,” he says. “I was hungry and I was in shock because I was having difficulty in the last three hours of the day. They had to experience that all the time, for months.”

This is also a reason why he is not celebrating today. “Every morning, when you wake up, you immediately check if your family is still alive. This is an unprecedented feeling. This year is a celebration with an enormous taste of sadness.”

Ramadan festival

More than 2,000 Muslims gathered in Weesperzijde, in the Great Mosque. It begins first with prayer, then a lecture, and then the Ramadan holiday is celebrated together in the mosque. “When you go out and see the blue sky and the sun shining and everyone here is laughing with joy,” visitor Marwan describes the atmosphere. “There's no better feeling than that.”

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Although the atmosphere of celebration in Weesperzijde is greater than in Solomon's house, there is a high degree of gratitude. His thoughts were with his family members, who he hopes remain safe. “What Ramadan brought back to me, and I am very grateful for that, is mental resistance against genocide,” Suleiman said. “I feel strong.”

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At the same time, there is also room for other ideas about Weesperzijde. “Now I am really looking forward to eating delicious couscous,” says Zakaria. A number of men leaving the mosque admit that the feeling of hunger is not yet strong. This also applies to Marwan. “No, neither do I actually,” he laughs. “It was a very strange feeling when I woke up this morning and drank a glass of water. A very strange feeling.”

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