UNION, NJ – Over 3,000 Muslim worshipers gathered for the annual Eid prayer celebration in Rabkin Park on Sunday morning.

Signaling the end of Ramadan, a period of fasting and reflection, Eid-a-fitr is a festive, worldwide celebration in Islam.  

The field at Rabkin Park was filled with a symphony of languages and cultures from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the United State and attendees of all ages. The garb and style covered a swath of colors and East-meets-West combinations, such as the men wearing neon colored sunglasses and tennis shoes with a kufti hat.

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There were young men in three-piece suits with women with modern hairdos and dresses, and older men with beards and traditional thobe and abaya garments and women with hijabs and burkas.  What they shared was a unity of spirit.

“You see people of all races and many cultures here, but we’re all Americans,” said Wail Rasheed, a first generation American. “Most or all the new generation of were born here.  We’re a generation that grew up here.”   Wail, ICUC Founder and President, moved to Union when he was 16.

Speaking of recent terror attacks, Wail said, “we have no idea where such hideous attacks come from, but we condemn them.  “We are American Muslims and our actions must be Islamic,” he said. “Evil cannot be Islamic.” In many cases, Wail said, the faith has been hijacked, literally and figuratively.

“Some use Islamic slogans, they are not Islam,” he said. “No one should be deceived by them.”

“We appreciate the presence of our Union County leaders who attended our annual honoring and the holiday prayer celebration,” said Wail.  The ICUC honored township, county and community representatives at the event, including Township Committee members, the Union Fire and Police Departments.

The Eid and honoring ceremony was sponsored by ICUC Islamic Center of Union County.