Eid celebrations go on despite Islamophobia, terror threat and floods
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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
"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
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
The official warning against illegal slaughtering ahead of the
festivities has caused a stir among Muslim immigrants and
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.