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Arab Turmoil Overshadows Hungary `Eid

Published: 17/10/2013 08:30:25 PM GMT
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BUDAPEST - Hundreds of miles away from the Middle East, political turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia has casted its shadows on `Eid prayers in Hungary after a group of worshippers left the sermon in protest against a Yemeni imam wh (more)

BUDAPEST - Hundreds of miles away from the Middle East, political turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia has casted its shadows on `Eid prayers in Hungary after a group of worshippers left the sermon in protest against a Yemeni imam who accused protesters in both countries of fueling unrest.

"This is outrageous!" Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen who came to Budapest for a family visit, told

“I was one from the 4 or 5 individuals who left the hall. Those who stayed were shaking their heads disapprovingly after the imam's defensive words.”

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Mohamed was one of the protesters who left the `Eid sermon after a Yemeni imam accused the protesters of Egypt and Tunisia for the bloodshed in their countries.

“One of the problems we are facing today is that some scholars call themselves revivers of the Sunnah and the way of Salaf as-Saleh (the Prophet's companions), however in reality, they are far from that,” said the Yemeni imam in Arabic language.

“They are calling for protest and revolution against the leader and making bloodshed. They are responsible for what is going on in Egypt and in Tunisia,” he added.

Non-Arabic speakers received the translation of the khutbah in Hungarian language on pieces of papers before its start; however these words were not included in it.

The Yemeni imam was speaking at the conference hall of Lurdy Shopping Mall which was rented this year by Masjid Dar as-Salam for `Eid prayers.

Over the past months, the mosque has been suffering from the absence of a full time imam due to difficulties with the Hungarian authorities which have been continuously delaying the visa permission of an invited azhary sheikh from Egypt.

Therefore, the Yemeni imam was only asked to deliver the Eid al-Adha sermon, but he is not the permanent leader of Dar as-Salam Masjid.

"This is not the first time the masjid expresses its negative opinion publicly regarding the Arab Spring," a Muslim from an African origin said.

“The previous imam from Egypt was completely against his country's 2011 revolution and the departure of President Mubarak. He said Muslims are prohibited from revolting and protesting against the leader."

Ahmed, a Tunisian engineer student in Budapest has also rejected the message conveyed by the imam.

"I participated in the Tunisian revolution fighting for the freedom of my country,” he said.

“The imam's words really offended me especially, because has actually contradicted himself at the end; he made du'a against the Syrian leader of Bassar Assad. So is revolution allowed in Syria but not in Egypt or Tunisia?"


Gathering for `Eid prayers, Hungarian Muslims tried to celebrate the Muslim feast in a friendly atmosphere.

"I was unable to take a day off from work this time. Hungary is not a Muslim country; therefore life is harder for us, Muslims, than in Turkey but still bearable unlike France.," 34-year- old Mehmet told

At the conference hall of Lurdy Shopping Mall, the `Eid prayer started around 7.30 am.

Men and women were divided in the big hall by a folding screen as tables were placed on each side offering dates, coffee and tea for the sleepy arrivals.

Every child was presented with some sweets and toys by the masjid.

After the prayer, families and long seen friends gathered together in the mall's food corner to have their breakfast while the first shoppers upon arriving at the mall looked surprised finding the place occupied in this early time by Hungarian, Arab, African and Asian Muslims wearing colorful abayas and hijabs.

"I used to live in UAE, but came home now for a while. To be honest, I cannot feel the spirit of `Eid here,” a Hungarian Muslim woman said.

“I am very happy to see my friends again, but I really miss the real `Eid in Emirates.”

On the afternoon, all communities prepared an `Eid dinner from the sacrificed meat and invited the believers to share the blessings.

Others, who did not have to go back to work or school after the prayer, visited each other with some cakes and present and celebrated this special day among their beloved ones.

In Hungary, the number of Muslims is slowly increasing by newly converts and immigrants mainly from Turkey, Syria, Egypt and some African countries, but it is still minimal compared to the West.

According to the Hungarian Islam Society, there are approximately 26,000 Muslims living in Hungary currently which is 0.2 % of the total population. Most of them are located in the capital city of Budapest or in bigger cities like Szeged which is famous for its outstanding medical university.

However, divisions inside the Muslim community, with each group planning prayers in a separate area, eclipsed `Eid joy for some Muslims.

"It makes me so sad that even on the day of `Eid some of my friends celebrate in one place while others are in another one," said Aisha, a Hungarian revert sister.

“Why the leaders of these communities cannot get together and make Eid at one big place instead of saying bad stuff about each other all the time?”

Reproduced with permission from