SPEECH: Eid el Fitr

On behalf of federal Labor, I would like to extend my best wishes to all Muslim communities in Australia and around the world that are celebrating the end of a month of fasting and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr. The announcement of Eid al-Fitr is made at the sighting of the crescent moon, an Islamic tradition which was used to identify the new month in the Islamic calendar. It marks the end of a month which many thousands of Australians have dedicated to fasting, praying and performing acts of charity. While technically, I suppose, there are some parallels with my own tradition of Lent, I think it's fair to say that my tradition has no understanding of fasting when compared to the fasting that takes place during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Preparations for Eid al-Fitr begin well before the sighting of the moon, with decorations going up in homes, on shopfronts and at local mosques. The sweet aroma of the traditional shortbreads, ma'amoul, fills homes and streets the nights before as families and friends unite for a final iftar, a final breaking of the fast, and gather to share the last Ramadan prayers and blessings. Celebrations begin at dawn, with traditional prayers at the local mosque, and are followed by the visiting of families, friends and communities, sharing the stories of the month that passed and the blessings of the year to come. Whenever I go down to celebrate with so many friends at the end of Ramadan, I always park many, many blocks away. There's this wonderful period before dawn of people walking and the group gradually getting larger and larger as you get closer. That journey towards the gathering is a beautiful part for me every time we get to Eid al-Fitr.
One of the nicest things about the celebration is the sense of unity and happiness shared amongst Muslims from various cultural backgrounds. Colourful displays of new garments are paraded, and the exuberant faces of the children fill the space as they collect money and gifts. The celebration of Eid al-Fitr, like the celebrations we mark from around the world throughout the year, is a great example of how strong and successful modern multicultural Australia is, and how our Australian story is built on the experiences of communities from around the world. To everyone celebrating, Eid Mubarak.

Tony Burke