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Thursday May 23, 2024

Philadelphia Eid celebrations marred by shooting incident

Gun battle broke out among 2 groups at Clara Muhammad Square park where Muslims were gathered to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr

By Web Desk
April 11, 2024
Security personnel walk outside Clara Muhammad Square after a shooting broke up an Eid celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 2024. — AFP
Security personnel walk outside Clara Muhammad Square after a shooting broke up an Eid celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 2024. — AFP

As Muslims across the world celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with religious fervour and zeal, the festivities were marred in United States after a gun battle broke out between two groups in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, injuring three people on Wednesday.

The incident took place at the Clara Muhammad Square park in Philadelphia where around 1,000 people were gathered for Eid celebrations to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

As per Fox29 News, no casualties have been reported so far despite as many as 30 rounds being fired during the incident.

Commenting on the incident, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said that one of the wounded is reported to be a 15-year-old gunman, armed with an assault rifle, who was engaged by an on-duty police officer.

The teenage gunman is in hospital and is in stable condition, the commissioner said while stressing that the police do not believe the incident to be connected to the Eid celebrations.

"99% of the individuals at this event are good people who wanted to have a good time. And once again, we have young people engaging in gunfire who just really destroyed the sanctity of the event," the BBC reported quoting Bethel.

Meanwhile, the police have taken five people into custody and have confiscated five weapons from the incident site.

Those taken into custody include three males, one female and the 15-year-old teenager.

The incident has left the Muslim community worried for their safety amid an increasingly polarising socio-political landscape which has seen a surge in Islamophobic incidents in recent years.

Recalling the incident, Najah Bey, who was attending the Eid celebrations, said: "It's sad in Philadelphia. It's sad [that] you can't even have a celebration without worrying about getting shot."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L Parker reaffirmed support to the city's Muslim community stressing that people have the right to worship in peace regardless of their faith.

—X/PhillyMayor
—X/PhillyMayor

"In the midst of Eid al-Fitr, a Holy Day of celebration, our city’s Muslim community experienced a sacrilegious act of gun violence today in a West Philadelphia park," she said in a post on social media platform X.

"Every community of faith has the absolute right and need to worship in peace. We stand united with the Muslim community and vow to work together to restore balance and light to our communities," the mayor added.