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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Carlisle's Muslims' test of faith

A Muslim community in Carlisle has been celebrating after completing one of the toughest tests of its faith.

Eid photo
Aliza Anjum Sadia tucks into a curry with family members Elias Miah and Mazharul Haque

About 100 guests gathered at Carlisle’s Dhaka Tandoori on Carleton Road to enjoy Eid which marks the end of Ramadan.

During the 30 days of Ramadan devotees take no food or drink during daylight hours – however this time Ramadan fell during the very long, hot, days of summer.

A celebration meal was organised by Abdul Harid, the restaurant owner, who said it was the first time he had experienced such long hours and hot weather during Ramadan since he moved to the city 21 years ago. He said: “Extra effort is needed in terms of trying to keep up with it. We are serving food in our industry – I was tempted but I was strong.”

Abdul said that Carlisle’s Muslim community was small but they make every effort to mark religious festivals like Eid.

He added: “Young people need to understand and learn about their religion and we encourage them.

“Eid is a celebration to mark the effort that people have made throughout the month. It’s everybody getting together and celebrating.”

Mr Harid’s 16-year-old son, Robi agreed that this Ramadan had been more of a challenge for him particularly because of the hot weather conditions.

He said: “I certainly feel relieved now that we don’t have to worry about our dietary needs.”

And Aneesah Harid, Robi’s 13-year-old sister, agreed that while it had been a tough month it was satisfying to have completed Ramadan. She added: “I feel like a stronger person and I have achieved something.”

Halima Vedum, a 28-year-old housewife from London Road, was also enjoying the celebration on Wednesday and said she had found inner strength through prayer.

She added: “Eid is nice after all those days. Everybody gets together. The boys are going to the mosque and they enjoy this time.”

Syed Ali, who runs the Shaha Tandoori Restaurant in Botchergate in Carlisle, said that they had fasted for more than 19 hours each day during Ramadan. He added: “It’s nice once you get used to it. We don’t feel it’s a very long time. We will get a good reward from mighty Allah.”

People from other faiths were also invited to the celebration including several of Abdul’s fellow Carlisle city councillors – he represents residents living in the Currock area.

Councillor Steven Bowditch, the mayor of Carlisle, said he would be taking part in the next Ramadan and be encouraging others to join him.

He added: “I would like to thank Abdul for his great friendship – he’s brought so much to the city with all he does.”

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