Muslims pray at the Imam Khomeini grand mosque during Eid al-Adha. Picture: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua
Muslims pray at the Imam Khomeini grand mosque during Eid al-Adha. Picture: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua

Eid celebrations go on despite Islamophobia, terror threat and floods

By Time of article published Sep 1, 2017

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Berlin (dap) - Performing an early morning prayer is a ritual of the

first day of Eid al-Adha, when Muslims around the world celebrate

Islam's holiest festival for four days.

For most Muslims, it is a joyful social gathering that takes place in

public squares and arenas.

But Islamophobia, terrorist threats and natural disasters cast a pall

over some festivities on Friday, the first day of Eid.

In Italy, several thousand people joined public prayers at a park in

Turin and in a square near the train station in Naples, the ANSA news

agency said.

"We have to open our hearts to the society in which we live in, show

sincerely our hearts and our actions as real Muslims," the imam who

led the Turin prayers, Hamid Zariate, was quoted as saying.

But anti-Islam sentiment has risen in Sesto San Giovanni, a suburb of


It was there, last December, that the terrorist who rammed a vehicle

into a Berlin Christmas market was shot and killed by police after

fleeing Germany. In the wake of incident, Muslims were denied the use

of a sports hall for Eid al-Adha.

The refusal of their request was put down to alleged bureaucratic


"We have celebrated [it] for 20 years in Sesto San Giovanni, in a

happy and joyful atmosphere, without any problem. This year, however,

the more than 5,000 Muslims of Sesto will be denied the joy of this

occasion," local Muslim leader Boubakeur Gueddouda said on Facebook.

In Nigeria, Muslims held Eid prayers under extreme security measures

due to the frequency of terrorist attacks on Muslim holidays in the

region, with suicide bombers often targeting mosques and prayer


Nigerian Muslims in Maiduguri had to travel on foot to their

celebrations on Friday, after police banned the movement of all motor

vehicles, bicycles and even animals in the city of roughly 2.5

million people.

Maiduguri, the capital of north-eastern Borno State, lies at the

heart of an insurgency by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, which

killed an estimated 20,000 people since 2009.

Slaughtering a sacrificial animal is a common Eid ceremony, banned

recently in Austria.

Austria's rural Styria province informed sheep and goat farmers that

they should not sell to anyone who might kill animals according to

Muslim tradition - without legally required stunning or without

veterinary oversight.

The official warning against illegal slaughtering ahead of the

festivities has caused a stir among Muslim immigrants and

progressive-minded farmers.

The letter left farmers wondering how they should detect Muslim

customers, while Egyptian expatriates criticized the official warning

as discriminatory. A veterinary official has since said that the

wording was unfortunate, but he pointed out that 12 men were recently

fined for illegally slaughtering 79 sheep during last year's Eid.

Bangladesh was planning on holding scaled-back celebrations this

year, since extreme flooding in the north left tens of thousands of

people struggling to rebuild homes and crops.

"We can't think of buying a sacrificial animal this year since the

flood caused massive loss to my family," said Raihan Azim, a farmer

in northern Nilphamari district, which was inundated by floodwaters

for more than two weeks.

Bangladesh, where about 90 percent of its 163 million people are

Muslim, will celebrate Eid on Saturday. Despite the disaster

stretching across a wide swath of the country, tens of thousands have

already made their way from major cities to village homes to

celebrate the festival with their dear ones.


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