Fellow citizens, the sighting of the new crescent moon signals the end of the month of Ramadan, a period of great religious significance for Muslims across the country and around the world. At the culmination of this holy season, having prayed, fasted and renewed their faith, Muslims gather to commemorate Eid-ul-Fitr, the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.

The Eid celebration usually occasions great joy and relief for those who have successfully completed their sawm, and this year coincides with the long-awaited emergence of the national community from the loss, disruption and misery of the Covid-19 pandemic. After two consecutive years of muted and modified Eid observances, Muslims can now meet in masjids and common spaces to reconnect with one another and engage in prayers of thanksgiving. The family and community spirit at the heart of Eid is in full swing, and the rest of the nation joins enthusiastically with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the festivities and excitement.

Even as we share in their jubilation, we would all do well to embrace and embody the values, attitudes and behaviours exhibited by the Muslim faithful over the last two years. I was heartened to witness their commitment to Islamic tenets and principles as they translated faith into action, followed all health protocols, extended charity and goodwill to those hard-hit by the pandemic and showed true solidarity with their fellow citizens and the wider national cause to overcome the Covid-19 scourge.

The self-discipline and public spiritedness of devout Muslims are demonstrable lessons in good citizenship and we can all be inspired by their sterling example. These qualities have no doubt played a part in our ability to return to semi-normalcy, bearing out the words of the Holy Qur’an, which states, “And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” (Quran 11:115)

Even as we ease our way out of the recent crisis and resume our traditions and practices, we must not forget to continue following the health guidelines as they evolve thereby ensuring that we all arrive safely at the finish line and return fully to the business of life.

I am delighted to extend to the Muslim community sincere wishes for a safe, happy and holy Eid celebration. May Allah accept and reward your efforts.