Rohingya Community Marks 10th Eid – ‘Festival of Breaking Fast’ in Carlow
As over 1.6 billion Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr – “Festival of Breaking the Fast” after a month-long of fasting from dust to dawn, a small Rohingya community marks the festival on its 10th year of resettlement in Carlow.
Although the 19-hour-fasting a day for 29 days may seem an unmanageable spiritual undertaking, the community embraces it a mandatory task to stand solidarity with people of destitute the way Irish Society has stood up since the resettlement in April 2009.
“Ramadan (The Month of Fasting) may have passed today, but the spirit of fasting should not be taken out of our hearts for the rest of year and years ahead.
“There are people who are deprived of love and compassion. There are people without basic human rights. There are at least 68 millions people displaced around the world. There are desperate people without food and shelters including over 70 homeless Irish in Carlow where the Rohingya community is provided a place to call home and where it is given the compassion, love and solidarity when needed most,” said Haikal Mansor from Carlow-based Rohingya Action Ireland and the European Rohingya Council.
Illustrating Carlow, chairman of Rohingya Action Ireland and Carlow Cricket Club, Mohammed Rafique said, “We have never felt so loved and welcome in our lives despite being born in Myanmar (Burma) and growing up in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. For Rohingya, Carlow has been a wonderful home surrounded by amazing people and communities who uphold the very meaning of Ramadan – love, tolerance, compassion, solidarity and peace.”
78 members of the community were resettled from two refugee camps in Bangladesh where they have fled the mass atrocities being committed by Myanmar Military in 1991-2. Most of the community were born or spent at least 17 years in the camps before their resettlement in Carlow under the refugee resettlement programme.
The mass exodus which the United Nations describes “the ongoing genocide” now makes up over 1.3 million Rohingya refugees including many relatives of the community in Bangladesh.
With supports from local communities, organisations and institutions such as Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, Carlow IT, Carlow County Development Partnership, Carlow Regional Youth Services, on August 25 at Carlow College, the Rohingya community hosts “International Rohingya Rememberance Day”. It is to commemorate the victims of genocide in Myanmar and celebrate the 10th year of resettlement in Carlow with free food, music, dancing, sport, henna, face-painting, arts and crafts, and photographic exhibition.
The writer, Haikal Mansor, is a member of Rohingya Action Ireland based in Carlow, and general secretary of the European Rohingya Council (ERC). The community can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rohingya.ie.