“It’s very important for us to do work in the community,” says Said Durrah, who is the Event Coordinator of Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). He was among many of the IRUSA volunteers who were helping on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at the ADAMS Center, for their Eid Al-Fitr Festival.
“We bring people out here to a large Eid Festival; [and] our slogan this year is ‘You are the heart of IRUSA.’ There are a lot of things going on around the world, so to show people that we appreciate them and what they do, we give them that Eid feeling,” said Durrah.
Durrah talked about how going to prayer and having a nice lunch is what Eid seems to have become for people in America. He is pleased to be spreading good cheer and happiness. He says people have walked up to him, saying how much it feels like a grand Eid festival, spreading the feeling of celebration “Even though it seems like it’s rather simple, it’s three thousand people coming together to mark the end of Eid Al-Fitr. [It also] raises money for the current emergence in Gaza,” he continued.
Islamic Relief wasn’t the only organization spreading the word and collecting donations. Muslimat Al-Nisaa, an organization whose goal is to provide help to homeless Muslim woman and children; was also there among the vendors joining in the festivities. These vendors include Attar Mist and Habibi Consulting, LLC. Big Country Amusement provided an Inflatable castle, pirate ship, obstacle course, and a mechanical bull; as well as a train for the kids and their youth filled adult counterparts to ride around on; along with a couple of small rides for the very little kids.
Little Big Kids was also at the outdoor festival. Founder and author of their children books, Omar Khawaja, stood by his tent in the heat, showing his new Eid book. Ilyas & Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid-al-Fitr contains information on Eid as well as the holidays of other major religions, such as Christmas and Hanukkah. Omar Khawaja started writing the Ilyas & Duck series in 2012.
Little Big Kids started in 2007, when he found out his wife was expecting their first child. Through his company, he has been working on his goal of doing something with more meaning in his life than his last job; and to create a world known icon for teaching Islam to kids in a way that grabs their attention and that will stick in their youthful minds.
With Native Deen performing live for visitors, a rented ice cream truck for kids, along with several food trucks and food booths, overall, the place had a wonderful homey feel to it; with friends and family enjoying themselves in celebrating Eid al-Fitr, and being able to take a break to pray at the ADAMS Center. Among booths and rides, there were candidates for Congress John Foust, Democrat and Republican Barbara Comstock; who also showed up to join in the festivities that were taking place.
John Foust had this to say when asked about this experience about “[Northern Virginia community’s] greatness is because of our diversity. We have so many talents and different diverse people living here…and to bring us altogether [is wonderful].” Fairfax Country Board of supervisors member Foust continued by saying that he has been coming out to the ADAMS Center and working with the Muslim community since 2003, and how he used his spot on the Board of supervisors towards integrating all of Northern Virginia’s communities together into one.
The CEO and co-founder of Islamic Relief USA, Anwar Khan enthusiastically said, “We are very happy to celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid, with so many different diverse backgrounds coming here to have a good fun time; and at the same time, we’ll be raising money for good causes. [The donations from today will allow] our joy and happiness here in America, to bring happiness to those who unfortunately don’t have much.”
With food booths collecting money for Palestine and the small entrance fee being donated to those suffering in Gaza, this Eid Al-Fitr brought everyone together.