The Syrian community in Portlaoise came together with friends and families from around Ireland recently for a special cultural event in Portlaoise Parish Centre.
The event celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, and was also held to honour three Syrian youths who garnered very high marks in their leaving cert exams: Abdulbaset Alazhari, who is studying aeronautical engineering at Limerick University; Kamar Naser, who is studying Pharmacy at Trinity College; and Kamar’s brother, Naser Naser, who is studying human genetics at Trinity College.
All three have been in Ireland just four years, which makes their academic success all the more remarkable.
Dr Kamal Abouhajar, chairperson of the Irish Syrian Community, thanked all those who accepted the invitation to celebrate the festival, which was attended by Minister Charlie Flanagan, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr Padraig Fleming, and Msgr John Byrne.
“I would like to thank both the Irish government and the Irish people for helping Syrian refugees. You have not only helped Syrians escaped the war, but also made everyone feel at home here,” said Dr Abouhajar.
The event was organised by Radwan Abouhajar and his family, who relocated to Portlaoise around three years ago. Radwan will be offering free Arabic language classes in Portlaoise Further Education Centre, beginning on September 18. The course is for non-Arabic speakers at beginner level.
Check out this gallery of images from the festival.