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Eid in Walsall: Thousands gather to give outdoor prayers for end of holy month

There were prayers and a sense of community as a outdoor prayer event marked the end of Ramadan.

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People from across the community coming together to celebrate Eid in Broadway West playing fields, Walsall

Muslims from across Walsall came together to mark the end of the Islamic Holy Month by praying together at Broadway West Playing Fields in a special Eid in the Park event on Monday.

It was the second time the event had been staged at the playing fields, which are based near Bescot Stadium, and saw more than 3,000 men, women and children come together to listen to speeches from boxer Hamza Uddin and the Union of Muslim Organisations' interim chair, Mohammed Arif.

Mohammed Arif made announcements throughout the event

It had been feared that the weather would cause the event to be cancelled, due to wet ground, but the conditions were warm and the ground dry.

The event saw all those in attendance sitting on prayer mats on the ground, with prayers being led by Imaam Muhammed Saeed, before a final speech from Mufti Muhammed Juned.

Speeches were read out at the start of the event as worshippers arrived

There was also a collection for Afghanistan alongside the event and an opportunity for people to buy and take home a box of donuts, donated by Krispy Kreme.

The event was organised by the Union of Muslim Organisations, which looks after the interests of mosques and other Islamic groups across Walsall, and Mohammed Arif said it has been a well organised event with the potential to get bigger.

It was an opportunity for Muslims from across Walsall to come together

He said: "Today has been tremendous and I want to thank the community who turned up in numbers, even with the fears that the ground would be wet, and it says a lot about the community that they want to come and pray in an open field.

"I think Walsall has a tremendous potential to bring together diverse communities to do work together in Walsall, and different mosques want to come together on a single platform and for the youth and elderly members of the community.

"As Muslims, we have to celebrate two Eids, firstly Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, and then Eid al-Adha, to mark the culmination of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, so this location is perfect for two events as we have the support of Morrisons for car parking and it is in the heart of the community."

The open air prayer event marked the end of Ramadan

Haroon Rashid, chair of the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Walsall, said it was a way to bring people together in an event not restricted by walls.

He said: "In a mosque, you could probably only accommodate 1,000 people at a maximum, whereas we've had more than 3,000 here today and we could fit in so many more, so there's an inclusivity to this event.

"Traditionally, the Eid prayer will be read out in the open and this park allows us to do this as it is a big space and allows us to welcome more people in.

More than 3,000 men, women and children attended the event

"We also wanted to give a show of solidarity to Afghanistan, as we are over here and we have an Afghan community and a refugee community and it shows that the Walsall community care about then, even though they are thousands of miles away."

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