The open air Eid celebrations on the Community Square in Gravesham which took place on July 1 were hailed a great success with around 500 people attending. Eid is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The purpose of the celebrations was to bring the diverse communities of the borough together, to share food and enjoy the entertainment on hand which included a fun fair, face and henna painting and a performance by the Four by Four Dhol Drummers. There were also welcome speeches by a number of key guests including the Imam Hafiz Ahmed Sher Barakati who spoke about the need for all communities regardless of faith to work together for the betterment of society, and the Deputy Mayor of Gravesham Cllr David Hurley who thanked everyone for attending and supporting this important community celebration.

The celebration which was organised in partnership by Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Gravesham Borough Council and the Gravesham & Dartford Muslim Association was the first one to take place outside.

Gurvinder Sandher, from the Kent Equality Cohesion Council said “I was overwhelmed by the support we had from everyone who attended. The last few months have been challenging ones for our Country with the spate of terror attacks, with people looking to divide our communities to cause disharmony and disruption. The Eid celebrations showcased how different faith communities and those of no faith can come together and promote peace, cohesion and mutual understanding. In addition to the celebrations we were able to share information on local projects and support available including the Reaching Communities initiative we are involved with. Great credit I believe needs to be given to our partners the respective Mosques, Kent Police and Gravesham Borough Council who shared our vision in wanting to make this event happen. I am keen to see the Eid celebrations develop in the future like the Saint George’s Day, Christmas and Vaisakhi celebrations that we organise in Gravesham.”

Ejaz Aslam the Chair of the Gravesend and Dartford Muslim Association commented “Eid al-Fitr is a very important religious celebration for the Muslim community. I was so happy that we were able celebrate this year on the Community Square with the different communities and faiths that live here in Gravesend. We are very lucky to live in a town which has very strong community relations and the feedback I have received from members of the local Muslim community has been very positive. It is important that all communities stand together and we promote our shared values.”