Croke Park hosts its largest ever Eid celebration

An estimated 1,000 worshipers flooded into Croke Park this morning, for the largest Eid celebration at the venue to date.

t is the third year in a row that the stadium held the event. The ceremony was first moved to the Croke Park in order to facilitate socially distanced prayer.

The numbers in attendance has grown rapidly year-on-year, from 200 in 2020, to 500 last year.

On Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Muslims remember Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

It is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar and follows the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Eid al-Adha is the second biggest festival for Muslims after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan and was celebrated in May.

The Eid prayer is prayed in open grounds or parks, however, Muslims in Ireland previously prayed the Eid prayer in a mosque.

That was until 2020 when places of prayer were closed due to the pandemic and instead Croke Park facilitated the celebration.

This morning’s celebration began at 8.30am and continued until 10am – well ahead of the Tailteann Cup Final and All-Ireland football semi-final this afternoon.

The service was led by Skaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri from Blanchardstown Mosque who opened his sermon by thanking Croke Park for hosting the event.

“Three in a row. It seems Dublin’s Muslims are as lucky as Dublin’s footballers,” he said.

“What began as a necessity, something born out of the pandemic and public health restrictions has now become tradition, has now become a celebration, an annual message from Ireland to the whole world that in this small corner of Europe, at least, we remain together despite our differences.

“We remain united despite our complicated and differing layers of identity and that we choose hope not hate.

“In doing so, we prove to the world that hatred and division are not inevitable. They are not human nature; they are not how society has to be.

“Events such as these are a model of living hope, not just here in Ireland, but also a message of hope for more troubled parts of the world that they too can, and indeed should, hope for a better society, for reconciliation, for an end to division and hatred.”

Skaykh Qadri sent a message of support to Muslims in Belfast whose centre of worship has been targeted by arson attacks twice in the last year. He thanked members of Michael Davitts GAC, Belfast, for allowing them to use their centre to celebrate Eid this morning.

In his closing remarks, Skaykh Qadri called for a more equal society and end to “misogyny” and “hatred”.

“Like Christy Ring said about hurling, delivering meaningful social change is like carrying 100 bricks before you put up one, but those who went before us have shown us that it is possible and it is worth it,” he added.

“Events such as today prove that humans at their very best, when they come together, in all their beautiful diversity and difference, and when they say ‘when we are united we are one’, they become change makers.”

Meanwhile, GAA President Larry McCarthy said he hopes the celebration will take place in Croke Park for many years to come.

“The GAA has always been about people and the communities that our clubs serve in communities around the world… An occasion such as this, strengthen those links undoubtedly,” he added.

Meanwhile in Belfast, Michelle O’Neill said that Northern Ireland should be defined by its rainbow of cultures, not divisions between orange and green.

The Sinn Fein vice president was commenting as she joined members of the Islamic community to celebrate Eid.

More than 1,000 people gathered on the pitches at Davitts GAA club in the west of the city for the largest open air Eid event ever organised in Northern Ireland.

Ms O’Neill, who is line to become Stormont first minister when or if the current powersharing impasse is resolved, wore a hijab as she joined in prayers.

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