Aug. 30 - Muslims around Asia celebrate the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the festival which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Nick Rowlands reports.
Muslims in Thailand celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the festival which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Here in the southern province of Narathiwat - a region plagued by sectarian violence - many Muslims go to the cemetery after morning prayers, hoping for peace. Across the border in predominantly-Muslim Malaysia, people exchange blessings with family and friends and ask forgiveness from their elders. Families go to the cemetery to pay their respects to the dead, and take advantage of the extended holiday to visit their relatives around the country. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 23-YEAR-OLD CIVIL SERVANT MOHAMMAD ASSAFRI OSMAN: "We are going to visit our relatives, starting with the nearest, in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, then we will travel all over the peninsula Malaysia to visit other family members." In India, the Muslim festival has sparked a boom in business in the northern city of Srinagar, with sales up around 50 to 70 per cent. Hindus often participate in Eid too, sharing the celebrations with their Muslim friends, and in this city in Bihar state, the vermicelli which is considered a great delicacy during Eid is made in factories owned and run by Hindus. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) AMIT KUMAR, A WORKER, SAYING: "We do good business the whole year. But, about 15 days before the onset of Ramadan, we start preparing a special kind of vermicelli. We call a lot of workers and start our preparations. The owners as well as the workers here are all Hindus. We can also consider this to be a symbol of communal harmony. " In the Philippines, where only around five per cent of the country's population of 94 million is Muslim, Eid morning prayers take place in a park in the capital Manila. The Imam presiding over the prayers called for peace around the world. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) IMAM COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES CHAIRPERSON, ALEEM SAID AHMAD BASHIER: "This Eid-al Fitr, the most important wish I want to ask for is peace, not only in the Philippines, but also for the whole world. Peace, that is what is most important." Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of Ramadan, and means the festival of breaking the fast. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.