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Mon, Dec 17, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Ma helps Muslims mark end of fasting, see in the new year

CNA , TAIPEI

An Islamic woman working in Taiwan smiles during yesterday's ceremony at the Taipei Grand Mosque marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) thanked Indonesian workers for their contributions to Taiwan and wished them a happy new year during the Id al-Fitr celebrations at the Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday.

The event marked the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan as well as the start of the new year in Indonesia.

More than 50,000 Muslims celebrated the end of the month-long Ramadan in mosques in Taipei, Chungli, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Indonesian workers made up the majority of the hundreds of Muslims gathering at the Taipei Grand Mosque to celebrate the new year.

The popular mayor, though not a Muslim himself, donned a jannah cap to greet Indonesian workers and spoke a bit of Indonesian -- drawing cheers from the crowd.

Ma pointed out that there are 36,000 foreign workers in Taipei and among them, 20,000 are Indonesian workers who contribute much to the construction and household assistance of Taipei City.

He also said that if all of them took the same day off, one-quarter of Taipei City would be paralyzed.

Ma also said that foreign workers as well as their local counterparts will benefit from a NT$300 million (US$8.69 million) labor foundation established by the Taipei City Government.

If foreign workers are improperly treated by their employers, Ma said they will be able to hire attorneys through assistance from the foundation.

Ma added that foreign workers should receive the same treatment as local workers.

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