Irish Muslims Held Eid Prayers At Iconic Croke Park03 Aug 2020
For many Muslims around the world, this year’s Eid al-Adha celebrations were a bittersweet affair. Local lockdowns and new spikes of COVID-19 cases meant that many Muslims in different parts of the country found themselves unable to partake in the traditional way of celebrations. Like Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr before, it seemed that Eid al-Adha would also be a small, socially-distant affair for most.
With many expectations lowered, Muslim communities in Ireland were in for a surprise when the Gaelic Athletic Association (Cumann Lúthchleas Gael – GAA), announced that they would invite them to host Eid prayers in the iconic Croke Park stadium.
“We are delighted to welcome members of the Muslim Community to Croke Park”
The prayers took place after local Muslim leaders applied to hold socially-distant prayers in the site earlier this month. They hoped that the wide-open space could offer Muslims a communal space while still allowing them to maintain a safe distance from one another.
To their delight, their application was accepted, especially in light of the fact that many of the sporting events, or other activities such as concerts that would normally be held here, were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
“Normally Croke Park and our other stadia would be a hive of activity at this time of the year with the staging of games but we are living through a very different year,” GAA President John Horan said, expressing delight at welcoming Muslim communities to the heart of Irish football.
The event was originally scheduled to have 500 Muslims for prayers. However, growing numbers of coronavirus cases forced the organisers to reduce the numbers to 200.
In addition to Irish-Muslim leaders, the services were also attended by Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders from Dublin, as well as a representative from the Irish government. The Irish President, Michael D Higgins, also sent a goodwill message to mark the occasion.
Speaking at the event, Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, Chair of Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, thanked the GAA, the Croke Park stadium management and the Irish people for granting the use of this historic venue.
“This is a country that is proud of its diversity and embraces those who become part of the society,” Shaykh Umar said.