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Muslims in London Think of Trouble Spots at Eid Prayers

Muslims from around the world marked the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan Tuesday, with many in Londay saying the holiday has special meaning this year because of the Arab Spring revolutions and the East Africa famine.

At London's Central Mosque, people rushed to prayers all morning long, joining fellow Muslims from dozens of countries.

For some, the religious significance of Eid al-Fitr is so important, world events have no impact. "Freedom fighters in the Middle East have nothing to do with the Eid. Eid is between you and God,” said a man.

“Eid is the same every year for us regardless what’s happening socially and around the world. It’s a celebration of the month of fasting. And that’s our religion," said another man.

But many others have a different view, including this 12-year-old boy, whose family is from Morocco.

“It makes it special because you feel how people are feeling right now in other countries like for example Somalia, they’re suffering, no food, no water, so it’s a good thing to know how people are suffering around the world,” he said.

And many of the thousands of adults at the mosque agree with him.

"We just think about third world countries, we think about what’s happening in Libya and Syria and what’s happening in Somalia, as well. We just think about what we have here and we just should be grateful," said a man.

"This has been more emotional because you’ve got a lot of war going on in the Middle East,” said another man.

But that doesn’t mean the Eid was politicized, according to Baher Moulana of Sri Lanka, who came to the mosque with his family.

“Politics stops here at the gate, really," said Moulana. "In there, there’s not anything mentioned about politics. It’s mainly praying for those people who passed away and who are fighting for the good cause.”

The ‘fights’ on many people’s minds started in Tunisia, home country of Lassad el-Wadrafi, a London chauffeur.

“They feel more responsible for the people back home because they didn’t participate in the change for the better. People die over there for the Jihad. They feel responsible for them to do at least a little bit to contribute to what has been done in Tunisia, my country,” said the chauffeur.

After prayers, many people took a stroll in Regent’s Park, just behind the mosque, taking family photos and having picnics. These women are from Yemen, the scene of significant unrest in recent months. Fatma volunteered to speak for the group.

“We are affected in terms of what we are thinking," said a woman. "We have to pray for them to be safe. We have to make sure that we are praying hard that, inshallah, everything will be sorted soon so they can have stable life, no more trouble and people can be free and move wherever they want, you know.”

Those thoughts reflected the prayers of many worshippers this Eid morning in the peaceful surroundings of London’s Central Mosque.