ACTNews, KAYSERI - Eid Al-Fitr is a special day for Muslims around the world. The day that marks the end of Ramadan fast for a month is often celebrated with special foods, new clothes, and other kinds of festivities. Many also spend the Eid season to visit their friends and relatives to send greetings to one another.
For Uighur diasporic community in Kayseri, Turkey, however, this year’s Eid marks another Eid-ul-Fitr that they have to celebrate far away from their families and homeland in the Xinjiang region of China.
To ease their sorrow, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) delivered Eid packages and zakat-ul-fitr last Saturday (5/23). Hopefully, the zakat and Eid gift distribution can cheer up their Eid.
"In Eid-ul-Fitr 1441 AH, we gave zakat-ul-Fitr and Eid Al-Fitr packages to 80 Uighur families in Kayseri. We hope that this assistance can slightly alleviate their difficulties, "said Firdaus Guritno from ACT's Global Humanity Response (GHR) team. In Ramadan, ACT has also distributed food packages to the Uighur families in Istanbul.
One of the Uighur children who received zakat-ul-Fitr and Eid packages from ACT. (ACTNews)
The Uighur communities in Turkey are keeping their cultures and traditions in their host country. The 42-year-old Hayrı Gül is among the Uighurs who celebrate Eid Al-Fitr in Turkey. As reported by The Guardian, she was forced to leave her husband and youngest son behind because the state would not issue them passports.
Contact with them stopped later that year, and she no longer knows if they are alive or dead. But here in Istanbul, Gül is grateful that at least some of the 12-million-strong Uighur population have found a place to keep their cultural heritage alive.
“I miss my homeland and my family every day. I cry a lot with the pain,” she said at her home in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu neighborhood. “I love life in Istanbul. I wish they could be here too. My children have freedom here we could not imagine before.”
In exile, Uighur culture has flourished in a way that was impossible in Xinjiang: several publishing houses, bookshops, and cultural centers that would have been banned in China have opened in Istanbul. Artists and intellectuals have platforms and audiences for their work; artisanal workshops, many run by women, sell colourful traditional clothing and homewares.