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Muslims pray at Croke Park for the first time in celebration of Eid al-Adha

“Your community has shown selfless dedication in the administration of healthcare and on the frontline,” Muslim worshipers were told.

Updated Fri 3:00 PM

NO FEE 5 Eid al Adha Croke Park Source: Mark Stedman

AROUND 200 MUSLIMS and dignitaries have gathered in Croke Park in Dublin for the celebration of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar.

The event, which is taking place in Croke Park for the first time, was originally due to have 500 people in attendance but due to Covid-19 restrictions were limited to 200.

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

Dr Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, who is the chair of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, led attendees in saying the Eid prayer from 10am.

Eid 2 Source: RTÉ News Now

Eid al-Adha is an annual celebration in the Muslim calendar that takes place at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage and is known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”.

It’s a celebration of the story of Ibrahim, who was asked to sacrifice his son as a show of loyalty to God; before Ibrahim had acted, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Abraham is a central figure in the Christianity as well as Islam, Dr Al-Qadri told Muslim worshipers.

Dr Al-Qadri welcomed the attendance of the leaders of the Abrahamic religions: Primate of Ireland and Archbishop Diarmud Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough Michael Jackson, and Rabbi Zalman Lent, who read out statements.

NO FEE 24 Eid al Adha Croke Park Dr Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. Source: Mark Stedman

“Today we are showing together a message of peace, a message of unity, a message of humanity, because this is what we need in this day and age,” he said.

“This sacrifice is mentioned in the Bible, it’s mentioned in the Quran as well. It’s something that is common – the slight difference is which son he had to sacrifice.

“What kind of message do we get from this? The message is to trust in god.”

Imran Khurshid, a member of Fianna Fáil, told TheJournal.ie that the event was very well organised; worshipers entered through one door and left through another to adhere to social distancing rules.

“To be honest, it was amazing, this word covers everything. People were very happy. It felt like home, that we are at home and we have nothing to worry about. 

“I think we needed it – with the Black Lives Matter movement, this was the right time.

I loved it. I contested the election for Fianna Fáil, I wanted to do it in my constituency. I’m originally from Pakistan – Pakistan and Ireland more or less have the same history. When the British went to Croke Park and opened fire, more or less the same thing happened in India in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre [where 379 people were killed].

Commending the Bishops and Rabbi for their attendance, Khurshid said: “That was the thing, they were addressing us and wishing us well. This is what we need – people don’t know about Muslims, they don’t know about Islam. This is peace, this is love. 

He said that these types of events were needed to progress: “You can’t segregate one community or two communities or three communities and build the city or the country up. 

This is an opportunity to open the doors – not only for Muslims, but for everyone.

The GAA

Eid 3 Source: RTÉ News Now

Originally from Baghdad, Abdul Al Jumaili, or Bonner Ó Loingsigh, gave a powerful speech to the crowd where he described how he fell in love with the game of hurling, which he called “the best game on earth”.

“No matter where you are in the country, no matter where you’re from, try GAA.”

The Head of Stadium Business at Croke Park Mark Dorman told the worshipers who had gathered that for over Croke Park has been the home of Gaelic games since 1913.

“For over 100 years we’ve hosted sporting and non-sporting events, and religious events. Our motto is ‘Where we all belong’, and we feel that having your celebration here today is living proof that this is a place where you belong too.

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NO FEE 14 Eid al Adha Croke Park Pictured are (from left) Sadaf Ejaz, Yumna Khalid and Sanaa Kashif Wan. Source: Mark Stedman

We salute and thank the many members of the Muslim community who have played a huge role in keeping us safe in recent months. 
Your community has shown selfless dedication in the delivery of healthcare, many of you working on the frontline, and your contribution is greatly appreciated. 

“Go raibh maith agaibh. Shukram,” he said, meaning ‘thank you’.

Eid 5 Source: RTÉ News Now

Archbishop Diarmud Martin also addressed the crowd: “I’m very happy to wish the entire Muslim community, and those gathered here in Croke Park, Eid Mubarak.”

The entire Corke Park stadium is a living museum, it’s a place of great sporting occasions, and it’s a place of great community. Every year, elderly people come together for a meal at Christmas. But today marks a new chapter in the history of Croke Park.

He said that this event was “recognising publicly the pace of the Muslim community in Ireland – the Ireland of today, and of tomorrow”.

NO FEE 16 Eid al Adha Croke Park Pictured is six-year-old Kamil Ayub with his uncle Saqib Ayub, two of the attendees at the Eid al-Adha event. Source: Mark Stedman

“I’m honoured that you’ve kindly invited me to be part of your celebration. I feel very much at home at your celebration.

I go away hopeful of what we can achieve together.

Rabbi Zalman Lent mused: “In Ireland they say ‘sport is a religion’ – I’m not sure this is what they meant.”

President Michael D Higgins couldn’t be in attendance, but a statement was read out to those gathered at Croke Park to wish people “every health, happiness, and contentment”.

The service was broadcast on RTÉ News Now between 9.30 and 11.30am.

A small protest gathered outside the stadium to oppose the celebration at Croke Park.

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