Thousands Of Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Fitr In Downtown Milwaukee

Jun 5, 2019

Millions of Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr Tuesday, including in downtown Milwaukee.  Eid al-Fitr, called the "Festival of Breaking the Fast," marks the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month long fast from sunrise to sunset and is the holiest time for Muslims. 

Milwaukee believers gathered at the Wisconsin Center for a community prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. It was a sunny day and brightly dressed women and elegantly dressed men milled about. It was a diverse crowd of Wisconsin Muslims: different languages, nationalities and styles of dress.

Selma Akhtar's was dressed in the traditional Pakistani Dress.

"It's called the shalwar kameez. The styles change over the years. The basic elements stay the same: it's looser pants and a longer shirt that comes with like a very fancy scarf," she explains.

Standing close by is Selma's sister Samavia Akhtar.

"At the end of Ramadan, we have this day where we all get together as a community and we basically celebrate the fasting that we did. And it represents all the self-control that we had for the whole month. All the religious members you know come together and it's a very special time for our community," she says.

(From left) Selma Akhtar, her mother Shareem Akhtar, Samavia Akhtar, and Sapan Akhtar
Credit Angelina Mosher Salazar

After communal Eid prayers people gather in each other's homes and eat. Something that three young girls were particularly excited about. Isis Tutudealo, her sister Atima and Kalimatu parents are from Senegal and Guinna.

Isis the oldest says, "My favorite part about today is the praying part and then when we're done praying we've got we have a party to celebrate the end."

"That's mine too," chimes in her younger sister Atima. 

The greater Milwaukee Area has an estimated Muslim population of 15,000 - 20,000. More than 5,000 turned out to participate in the communal prayer downtown to celebrate Eid al-fitr.