Copenhagen – October 13, 2007 – For Danish Muslims, `Eid Al-Fitr is a time to bring happiness to all patients at hospitals, wish them speedy recovery and present them with bouquets of flowers with a clear message: Muslims do care about all fellow citizens irrespective of their religions. “On `Eid days, many Muslims volunteer to visit patients in their hospital beds,” Mohamed Fouad Al-Barazi, the head of the Muslim League in Denmark said. “Our mission is to make them happy and bring a smile to their faces,” he added.
Barazi said that the Muslim gesture helps change the blemished image of the Muslim faith in the European country. “It leaves a good impression,” he said, adding that good manners are the key to spread the true teachings of the Islamic faith. “Many Danes voluntarily revert to Islam because it gives due attention to humanity unlike the awful image portrayed by some western media outlets,” he said. `Eid Al-Fitr, which started Friday, October 12, in Denmark, is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Adha. After `Eid prayers, festivities and merriment start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.
Traditionally, everyone wears new clothes for `Eid, and the children look forward to gifts.
Barazi said Danish Muslims flock in droves since early morning to perform `Eid prayers. “Accompanied with their families and children, Muslims gather at the League’s HQs to perform the prayers,” he said. “After the prayers, Muslims take their children to exchange warm `Eid greetings with family members.” Danish Muslims also race to help Muslims worldwide during the Muslim festival. “As almost all Danish Muslims are well-off, we channel Zakat Al-Fitrt (alms) to poor and disadvantaged Muslims in the Islamic world,” Islam Online reported quoting Barazi.
Zakat al-Fitr, the third pillar of Islam, is obligatory upon every (capable) Muslim. Though it is preferable that zakat is given to the poor in the shape of wheat, rice and grains, some jurists also allow paying zakat in cash to the poor and needy. The zakat should be given during Ramadan any time but before the`Eid prayer. “We collect some $70,000 annually in alms and transfer them to poor families, widows and orphans in Muslim countries,” said Barazi. Last year, Danish Muslims donated $21,000 to help the poor in war-torn Iraq. The Muslim leader, however, said the alms should be channeled through licensed charities in targeted countries. “We ask every charity to prove it is recognized officially by the state to make sure that the money would not go awry,” said Barazi. Denmark is home to a Muslim minority of 200,000, making three percent of the country’s 5.4 million population. Islam is Denmark’s second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church, which is actively followed by four-fifths of the country’s population.