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RTÉ to broadcast Eid celebration at Croke Park as plans go ahead for 200 guests

Guests at the event will include Minister Roderic O’Gorman, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Michael Jackson, and Rabbi Zalman Lent.

Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

A CELEBRATION OF the Muslim festival Eid Al Adha is to take place in Croke Park tomorrow with 200 guests, following uncertainty over attendance numbers after the government’s roadmap to reopen the country was slowed down earlier this month.

The event, which is taking place in Croke Park for the first time, was originally due to have 500 people in attendance.

However, the government’s decision to delay Phase Four of reopening, which would have kicked in on 20 July and allowed 500 people to gather outdoors, meant that only 200 people would be allowed to join together.

The organisers originally wrote to the government to ask for the event to be given special consideration on attendance numbers, which followed a successful request from Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin earlier in July to allow places of worship to hold a higher number of people indoors than other venues during Phase Three of reopening.

Following communication between the organisers and the Office of an Taoiseach, the event will proceed with 200 attendees.

Usually, the stadium can accommodate up to 82,300 people at full capacity.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, event organiser Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council said that “we understand and feel that it is really important to not have a gathering or do anything that will increase the number of cases. Although we will have social distance measures in place, we respect the decision of the government.”

He said that the event organisers observed the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the second half of July and do not want to take any action that could lead to further increases.

“A lot of people in our community have also said that they are disappointed but that they totally understand,” Dr Al-Qadri said.

RTÉ News Now is due to broadcast the event in Croke Park live tomorrow morning from 9.30 am to 11.30 am.

Dr Al-Qadri said that the broadcast on RTÉ News Now is something which has given “relief” to many members of the Muslim community, as it will allow them to watch the event from home.

The event will begin with a recitation from the Quran, followed by a speech from Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Roderic O’Gorman.

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Dr Al-Qadri, who is also the chair of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, will then lead attendees in saying the Eid prayer from 10 am for around half an hour.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Michael Jackson, and Rabbi Zalman Lent will also be in attendance at the event.

Lastly, a young hurling player will speak to the crowd about his experiences as an Irish Muslim.

“The fact that we as Muslims are welcomed and are able to perform our Eid prayers in Croke Park sends a huge, important message out to the world of inclusivity and a message that Ireland is truly an Ireland for all,” Dr Al-Qadri said.

Eid Al Adha is an annual celebration for Muslims that takes place at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. It is one of the most important annual events in the Muslim calendar alongside Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

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