Muslim community celebrates Eid with festival at Wisconsin State Fair grounds
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --The Muslim community is celebrating 'Eid-al-Fitr' which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. To celebrate the breaking of the fast, a Muslim Community Eid festival was hosted Monday in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds.
Organizers of the event say the festival is being celebrated bigger than ever as a way to bring the Muslim community together after Covid and also to give Afghan refugees the opportunity to celebrate the holiday in their new home.
"The community has grown tremendously, and especially we realized after Covid it was so important to bring all the families together in a type of celebration where they can continue to see each other and where the kids can have fun," said Janan Majeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition.
The Muslim Community Eid Festival invited the Milwaukee Muslim community to a celebration with local food vendors, entertainment, rides and more. The Islamic Society transported many Afghan refugees in the state via buses so they could be part of the event.
"Eid is the festival of breaking the fast. The Muslim community around the world has been fasting for one month, the month of Ramadan, and so today we ended the fast," said Majeeb.
"It's so exciting seeing all the people celebrating Eid here, "said Mohammad Amin, a refugee from Afghanistan.
Amin is celebrating Eid in his new home. Amin has been in Milwaukee for six months now and has been grateful for the support he and his family have received since coming here.
"At first it was a little bit hard. Now everything is like normal. Everything's getting better day by day, so everything's good right now. We are happy to be here in Milwaukee," said Amin.
Local organizations helping refugees like Hanan Refugee Relief Group say they wanted to make the festival extra special for that very reason.
"The kids ran in here for the rides and they were so happy. They were excited. It's a time of getting together, visiting your family, and having a great time," said Sheila Badwan, the vice president of the Hanan Refugee Relief Group, Wisconsin chapter.
Several prayer events were also hosted throughout the city, including a main community prayer at the Wisconsin Center. Hundreds attended the event, including Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
"Milwaukee should be an open and welcoming community. It's folks like that, who are immigrants, that are migrants that have different experiences and different cultures that make our city richer, that add vibrancy to our neighborhood," said Johnson.
"As a community and particularly with the last presidential administration, we were often targeted. As a community, we have rallied together and we have had so many great allies that have rallied with us and supported us. Many of our volunteers are not Muslim, because many of the Muslims wanted to be with their families today, so we're very excited about that. And I think what's important is just to recognize that the diversity that we have in our communities is a strength and something that's beautiful. There's so much to really share and we just encourage people to get to know each other," said Majeeb.
Organizers of the event say the best way to get involved and support the Muslim community and Afghan refugees is by getting involved with local groups. Here is a list of some of those groups: