HomeFeaturesDisplaced Filipino-Palestinians offer halal food on Eid al-Fitr

Displaced Filipino-Palestinians offer halal food on Eid al-Fitr

Displaced Filipino-Palestinian families in Gaza, now residing in the Philippines, organized a Halal Bazaar following the Eid al-Fitr morning prayers on April 10.

They offered food to both Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos participating in the celebration marking the end of Holy Ramadan, known as the ‘festival of breaking the fast.’ This event symbolizes a moment of community, charity, and festivity in Islam.

“This Eid al-Fitr, we earnestly prayed, Inshallah, for the cessation of the aerial bombardment and occupation of Palestinian territories,” said 34-year-old Yasmin, a Filipina-Palestinian whose full name is withheld for safety reasons.

Palestinian refugees offer halal food to Filipinos during the observance of Eid’l Fitr at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City in the capital region on April 10. Photo by Mark Saludes

Confronted with financial hardships, Filipino-Palestinian refugees turned to selling Palestinian food in March as a means of livelihood. 

This move came after the initial aid from Philippine officials and the Department of Social Welfare and Development ceased, leaving these families without further government support.

Yasmin, who was formerly a science teacher at a UN school in Gaza, is now actively supporting her community in Quezon City through initiatives like pop-up kitchens and various entrepreneurial endeavors. 

Palestinian refugees offer halal food to Filipinos during the observance of Eid’l Fitr at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City in the capital region on April 10. Photo by Mark Saludes

She was part of the last group of Filipinos to be repatriated from Gaza, arriving in the Philippines in February.

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“My husband lost five family members when his parents’ home was bombed by Israel. We stayed to care for his surviving father,” said Yasmin. 

The escalating violence and dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza, worsened by Israeli blockades resulting in shortages of food and medicine, compelled her to make the difficult decision to leave. Her husband, unable to depart from Gaza, stayed behind.

Palestinians walk through a ravaged street following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, on October 10, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), out of the 36 hospitals in Gaza, only 10 remain operational, and even these are not functioning at full capacity.

This dire situation results from repeated Israeli military strikes on healthcare facilities, compounded by restrictions on essential supplies.

Since October 7, 2023, relentless Israeli airstrikes have resulted in over 33,000 Palestinian deaths, nearly 14,000 of whom were children.

Young relatives mourn over the bodies of the Salah and Abu Hatab families, killed when the tent where they were sheltering was hit by Israeli bombardment, at the morgue of the Nasser medical center in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 4, 2024, as battles between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants continue. (Photo by AFP)

On March 28, Israel carried out airstrikes in Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza, which is home to approximately 1.4 million displaced Palestinians. Recent reports suggest that Israel is planning an invasion of Rafah.

“Israel’s main support comes from the United States. The true adversaries of the Palestinians are the US and the Zionist Israeli government,” said Yasmin.

She, along with her fellow refugees, urges Filipinos to support the Palestinian cause, highlighting the resilience and determination of the Palestinian people to defend their rights. 

“Inshallah, they will continue their struggle,” said Yasmin.

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