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Image: Mark Stedman

Muslim community celebrates Eid al-Adha at Croke Park for second year in a row

500 Muslims gathered to pray in the stadium.
Jul 20th 2021, 3:41 PM 19,671 0

500 MUSLIMS AND dignitaries have gathered in Croke Park in Dublin to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar.

It is the second year in a row that Muslims have gathered to pray in the GAA stadium after Covid-19 restrictions prevented prayer from taking place in mosques.

Social distancing was observed throughout the service, which saw an increase on the attendance of 200 last year. 

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, chairman of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, and organiser of the event, led attendees in saying the Eid prayer. 

NO FEE 1  Eid al-Adha at Croke Park Source: Mark Stedman

In his sermon, he said the entire Muslim community was “eternally grateful to not only the GAA, but also the Irish nation as a whole” to be allowed to use the stadium again for the outdoor prayer service.

He also praised the “openness of spirit” shown by the people of Ireland towards the Muslim community. 

“The Irish people must give themselves full credit for choosing to keep their hearts open, when so many around the world fall prey to suspicion, hatred, and scapegoating,” he said.

NO FEE 4 Eid al-Adha at Croke Park Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. Source: Mark Stedman

President of the GAA Larry McCarthy said it was his “great pleasure” to once again welcome the Muslim community to Croke Park in celebration of the spirit of togetherness. 

Government Chief Whip and Minister for Sport Jack Chambers said that the event served as a reminder of the incredible power sport has to bring people and communities together.

He added that everyone in the country must strive every day “to ensure that Ireland really is the welcoming place we like to think it is.”

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald paid tribute to the Muslim Sisters of Éire, a volunteer-who run a soup kitchen on Prince’s Street North every Friday. 

“This simple act of kindness and solidarity has been a beacon and a lifeline for so many people through such difficult times, I think it exemplifies the spirit of community and coming together,” she said. 

NO FEE 8 Eid al-Adha at Croke Park Source: Mark Stedman

The event was also attended by faith leaders from several other religions, including Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell, Most Reverend Michael Jackson of the Church of Ireland, and Chief Rabbi Zalman Lent.

President Michael D Higgins couldn’t be in attendance, but thanked the Muslim community “for all they contribute to the society we share” in a statement posted online. 

It read: “Your gathering in the iconic Irish setting of Croke Park to celebrate Eid al-Adha once again symbolises the importance of our Muslim community within Irish society, and the valued contribution that those of faith make to our society.”

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Eid al-Adha is an annual celebration in the Muslim calendar that takes place at the end of Hajj, the big pilgrimage to Mecca performed once a year

It is known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, and is the second biggest festival after Eid al-Fitr – the “big” Eid that comes after fasting in the month of Ramadan.

It’s a celebration of the story of Ibrahim, who was asked to sacrifice his son as a show of loyalty to God.

When he proved that he was ready to sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Following the Eid prayer, families celebrate by wearing new clothes, visiting family members and friends and may symbolically sacrifice an animal in an act known as qurbani.

This represents the animal that Ibrahim sacrificed in the place of his son.

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Jane Moore


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