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Town of Huntington, NY - News Details

5/13/2022 - [VIDEO] Huntington Holds Town's First Cultural Celebration of Eid


Huntington – Town Clerk Andrew Raia served as master of ceremonies for the Town’s first cultural celebration of Eid at Huntington Town Hall on Friday, May 6, which live-streamed on the Town website and government access TV channels. 


“I am honored that this is the first Town administration to host a cultural celebration of Eid. The Town of Huntington prides itself on being the cultural epicenter of Long Island. We aim to highlight the unifying cultural attributes shared by people of all faiths across our community. Tonight we celebrate the theme of charity, gratitude and hospitality present in Eid festivities worldwide,” stated Supervisor Ed Smyth in a pre-recorded message; an unexpected family matter pulled the Supervisor away from Town Hall on the day of the event. Supervisor Smyth and Town Clerk Andrew Raia were co-hosts for the event. 


Town Clerk Andrew Raia stated, "Eid Mubarak! In the spirit of charity, generosity, and hospitality, we are gathered here to celebrate the Town’s first formal recognition of Eid al-Fitr. In the theme of charity, generosity and hospitality, we are celebrating, with a united gathering of our community, the shared values present in Eid festivities that unite us." 


Members of the community donated to and participated in the event, including Aamir Sultan, a member of the Town’s Asian American Task Force, also a member of the Suffolk County Asian American Advisory Board, who helped spearhead the event and donated refreshments and décor; Dr. Talaat Abdelmoneim, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Islamic Center of Melville, and Lamiaa Elkoulily, who donated refreshments; Salma Laraki, who led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance; Mufti Rafiq Faiz, Youth Coordinator at Masjid Noor in Huntington, performed a recitation; Amjad Hussain, who performed a “Nasheed,” or vocal performance; Imam Waleed Abdyousef from the Islamic Center of Melville who offered a prayer; Nadeem Warniq, a Director of the Pakistani League of America, who addressed the crowd; Wajma Halimi Modaser and Zakia Laraki with Huntington Muslim Youth Outreach, whose volunteers and friends provided face-painting, henna tattoos and children’s activities, Ms. Laraki also helped with the event décor and setup; and Aneela Khan in the Town Comptroller’s office, who donated food and also assisted in setting up the event. 


The unifying celebration honored members of the greater Huntington community who exemplified the event theme of charity, generosity and inclusiveness: Dr. Talaat Abdelmoneim, Chair of the Steering Committee for the new Islamic Center of Melville and is one of Huntington’s healthcare heroes, specializing in pediatric critical care for Northwell Health; Pilar Moya-Mancera, who serves the community in many capacities, as an active member of the Town's Hispanic Advisory Task Force and advocate for our vulnerable immigrant communities, doing outreach and bridging the language divide for access to services and community unification, and as Executive Director of Housing Help, Ms. Moya-Mancera advocates on behalf of households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and ensures they have someone fighting on their behalf; Mufti Rafiq Faiz, Youth Coordinator for Masjid Noor in Huntington, who mentors and guides Huntington youth to focus on service and giving back, also advising young residents on overcoming challenges to achieve their dreams; Lamiaa Elkoulily, who sits on the board of Pronto of Long Island Food Pantry and Thrift Center, the Suffolk County Muslim Advisory Board, and is the Vice President of the United Muslim Grand Council; and two residents who were unable to attend the event, including Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, who plays a vital role in the daily operations and community outreach programs of Masjid Noor in Huntington and provides guidance and counseling to members of the community with strong interfaith ties due to his preaching the values of unity, generosity and compassion; and Dolores “Dee” Thompson, whose decades-long commitment to the Huntington community epitomized the event theme of hospitality, Ms. Thompson hosts the Unity in the Community Parade and Fair for Huntington Awareness Day, founded the Huntington Station Enrichment Center and has been involved in a variety of organizations for the betterment of our community. 


Joining Town Clerk Andrew Raia representing the Town at the event included Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, former Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, Supervisor Smyth’s Deputy Supervisor John McCarron and Chief of Staff Michelle McCarthy, also a member of the Town’s Asian American Task Force. From New York State, Assemblymen Steve Stern and Keith Brown joined the festivities. Representing Suffolk County were Legislators Robert Trotta, Stephanie Bontempi and Manuel Esteban as well as Allen Bode from District Attorney Ray Tierney’s office. 


Attendees from the community included Rabbi Lina Zerbarini from Kehillath Shalom Synagogue; South Huntington School District Superintendent Dr. Vito D’Elia, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joseph Centamore; and Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Vita Scaturro and member Kelly Smith. 


Among Town officials in attendance included Planning Board Vice Chairman Robert Bontempi, Assessor Lisa Leonick, Community Development Agency Director Angel Cepeda, General Services Director Bill Musto and Deputy Director Joe Rech, Human Services Director Carmen Kasper, Parks & Recreation Director Todd Jamison and Deputy Director Walter Edwards, Personnel Director Brooke Lupinacci, Public Safety Director Joe Cirigliano and Deputy Director Kevin McCormick, Town Attorney Deborah Misir, Cultural Affairs Director Greg Wagner, Minority Affairs Director Kevin Thorbourne, and Senior Division Director Julia Frangione. Members of the Town’s community-led task forces and committees in attendance included Asian American Task Force Chairperson Muhammad Ashraf and members Karen Beck and Patricia Shih; African American Task Force members Rhonda Taylor and Ken Johnson; Anti-Bias Task Force members Helen Boxwill, Susan Dewey-Hammer, and Lovelee Aparicio Vetri, also a member of the Hispanic Task Force, along with members Guillermo “Willie” Perez and Maria Carballude; Citizens Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities member Thomas Mangan; and Veterans Advisory Board Chairman Bill Ober and WWII veteran Mortimer Roberts. 


Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and reflection, in the Muslim community. Eid festivities are celebrated across the globe, in many countries as a public holiday, with the common thread of charity, hospitality and gatherings of family and friends.