Last day of Ramadan for Muslims in Southeast Asia: tomorrow is Eid al-Fitr

The second most important religious holiday in the Islamic world is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth lunar month. Celebrations in Southeast Asia begin a day later than in the Middle East because the date depends on the sighting of the new moon. Indonesia, the world's most populous Islamic country, is preparing to celebrate amid tensions.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Islamic authorities in Southeast Asia have announced that today is the last day of the holy month of Ramadan. As such, Muslims are preparing to mark the event tomorrow, Eid al-Fitr, the second most important religious holiday in the Islamic world.

The celebration falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth lunar month in the Islamic calendar. In Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, celebrations began yesterday.

In Southeast Asia festivities will start tomorrow, because the exact date of Eid al-Fitr depends on when the new moon is first sighted.

Indonesia, the most populous Islamic country in the world, is getting ready to celebrate amid tensions following violent protests on 21 and 21 May.

Some 6,226 police officers have been deployed at Jakarta’s main points to ensure public order and security until 13 June, as residents return to their cities for celebrations.

Jakarta Police spokesman Senior Commander Argo Yuwono said today that officers have been deployed to anticipate and prevent any possible acts of terrorism. 

Last night, a suspected suicide bomber tried to blow himself up near a police station in Kartasura, Central Java. The man was seriously injured and the police are still investigating the reasons for his action.

Fearing such incidents, the authorities have banned the takbiran, traditional street processions in which the faithful shout "Allah is great".

“We call on the public to celebrate takbiran in mosques rather than on the streets,” said Senior Commander Bakharuddin Muhammad Syah. “We received a bomb threat last night. We have also observed that there is a possibility that brawls may break out on the streets during takbiran.”

As is traditional at Eid al-Fitr, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights reduced prison sentences for Muslim inmates, 112,523, this year. Of these, 517 were released immediately.

"The remission is a reward for prisoners who show good behaviour," said the Ministry's Correctional Affairs director general, Sri Puguh Budi Utami.

Tomorrow morning, the Indonesian president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will host an open house at the State Palace. About 3,000 people are expected.

Those who want to shake hands with him are required to gather at the National Monument (Monas) where “they will be sterilised first [. . .] before being transported in groups to the palace,” said Heru Budi Hartono, head of the Presidential Secretariat.

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