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Taipei City Government Celebrates Eid al-Fitr with Muslim Migrant Workers

       Today (June 5) is Eid al-Fitr, a global Muslim holiday which marks the end of fasting. Almost two to three hundred migrant workers sit at the Taipei Main Station hall in the morning. They give blessings to each other and share traditional food to celebrate their festival. Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun and Commissioner of the Department of Labor (DOL) Lai Hsiang-lin visited the site to show their concerns and offer blessings to the migrant workers. The workers took photos with Deputy Mayor Tsai and Commissioner Lai with enthusiasm. The migrant workers joined up and greeted them with “Happy Eid” in Indonesian. The environment was filled with warmth and happiness.

       Indonesian worker Anne has stayed in Taiwan for 14 years. She held up a sign saying “I love Taipei” to take photos. She said that it feels very nice to celebrate the Eid with friends even working away from home. She truly loves Taipei. When Deputy Mayor Tsai gave a speech, he mentioned that Taipei is a multicultural city that respects other cultures. Muslims are welcome in Taipei whether they come here for work, education, or to stay. The government will take good care of their needs in daily life. The Eid al-Fitr is a good event that allows Taiwanese to learn about Muslim culture, and migrant workers can also celebrate the way they are at home for the festival. It is an excellent opportunity for the public to interact with the workers. He invites the migrant workers there to join the Muslim Festival that will be held by the Taipei City Government on June 9 at the Daan Park.

 
       Commissioner of the DOL Lai Hsiang-lin prepared some Taiwanese souvenir “fragrant bags” and started to exchange blessings with the migrant workers. Commissioner Lai would say “Happy Eid” in Indonesian, and then teach the Indonesian friends to say “Happy Dragon Boat Festival” in Chinese in return. Many migrant friends tried to take on this greeting challenge. Over the whole morning, approximately about one thousand Indonesian migrant workers participated in the celebration at Taipei Main Station.

       Taipei City has about 45,000 migrant workers. Among these workers 70% are Indonesian and most of them are Muslims. For Muslims, their Fasting month begins on May 5 and lasts for one month. They all follow the Muslim principles and fast from sunrise until sunset. During the fasting hours, they still have to work. Especially in Taipei, most of the migrant workers are responsible for taking care of the elderly and mentally or physically handicapped persons. Commissioner Lai mentions that in the past month the DOL has been trying to remind employers that the religion of workers should be respected and the employers should be more considerate. Today, the celebration of Eid has been widely accepted by many employers to allow the workers to take a half-day off in order to attend. The action has shown that Taiwanese employers respect and accept the culture and practice of migrant workers.

       The DOL will hold the migrant workers’ events on June 8 and 9, in the afternoon of Saturday and Sunday. At 15:00 on June 8, the Eslite Bookstore Southwest Branch will handle the event “Listen to the Voice of Culture - Learn about Southeast Asia from Literature”. The citizens may learn more about Southeast Asian culture through the poets of the migrant workers. In the afternoon of June 9, Taipei Main Station will organize a flash mob event for the migrant workers. Citizens are invited to have fun with the migrant workers. For details, please visit the Facebook fan page “Join hands at Taipei” of the FD.
 

Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai and DOL Commissioner Lai celebrate the Eid al-Fitr with migrant workers.
Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai and DOL Commissioner Lai celebrate the Eid al-Fitr with migrant workers.


Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai and DOL Commissioner Lai take group photos with Indonesian students and their families.
Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai and DOL Commissioner Lai take group photos with Indonesian students and their families.


DOL Commissioner Lai offers fragrant bags to the migrant workers.
DOL Commissioner Lai offers fragrant bags to the migrant workers.

Labor Minister Lai teaches migrant workers to say Happy Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese.Labor Minister Lai teaches migrant workers to say Happy Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese.