YALA, Thailand – Marking the conclusion of Ramadan fasting, Muslims across Southeast Asia celebrated Idul Fitri (August 8th) with prayers, feasts and acts of charity.
In Thailand's Muslim-majority Deep South, imams distributed rice to the poor, while celebrants began the three days of festivities by paying zakat fitrah at their nearest mosque. Thousands attended ceremonies at the Saladuduangjan Pavilion in Yala, the National News Bureau reported.
In Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, the 1Malaysia foundation – launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2010 -- marked the occasion with a call for strengthening the bonds of friendship, interracial and interreligious harmony.
"Respect for one another's religion has been the hallmark of our multiracial society. It is the duty of each and every Malaysian, irrespective of race and religion, to keep building respect among various religions in our multi-religious nation," foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said, according to The Borneo Post.
In the Philippines, thousands of Muslims gathered at the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Centre on Friday to celebrate Idul Fitri. They prayed for national unity and peace on Mindanao, particularly light of recent bombings in Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato City and North Cotabato, the Inquirer News website reported, citing Golden Mosque administrator Akmad Gegiling.
Philstar.com reported that while Muslims on Mindanao ended their Ramadan observances at different times, they all prayed for lasting peace and an end to the cycle of violence in the region.
In Indonesia, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and several cabinet ministers greeted travellers earlier this week at some of Jakarta's main rail and bus stations, urging them safe travels, The Jakarta Post reported.