Cairo, Apr 21 (EFE).- Millions of Muslims in the Middle East on Friday were celebrating the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which brings the holy month of Ramadan to a close.
The holiday, which lasts three days and concludes the month of fasting, is being held amid hopes for peace as regional rivals re-establish diplomatic ties, while a military power struggle has brought violence and bloodshed to Sudan.
As is tradition, Arab leaders led the prayers for the holiday, with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 87, performing this year’s Aida prayer at the Al Salam Palace in the coastal city of Jeddah, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported, rather than at a mosque like in previous years.
“May God bring news of stability, security and tranquility to our region and the whole world,” he said in a message on the occasion of the holiday.
In recent months Saudi Arabia has shifted its regional policy by announcing the restoration of diplomatic relations with its regional arch-rival Iran, with which it will soon open embassies that have been closed for seven years.
Riyadh is also pushing for Syria, an ally of Tehran, to return to the Arab League, from which Damascus was suspended twelve years ago for its repressive role in the 2011 protests.
Meanwhile, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad held Friday prayers at the mosque of his late father, president Hafez al-Assad in the al-Mezzah neighborhood of Damascus.
Sheikh Shahrour, delivering the Eid sermon at the Damascus mosque, said he had seen children offering “what they had been collecting for their feast for those who were affected by the earthquake”, praising it as the “philosophy of joy”.
In February, several earthquakes in Turkey and Syria triggered one of the worst disasters in contemporary history, killing more than 50,000 people, including nearly 3,700 in the Arab country.
Meanwhile, there have been international calls for the parties to the conflict in Sudan to adhere to a three-day truce to stop the fighting that has been going on since Saturday amid a military power struggle. EFE