Croke Park to host Islamic celebration of Eid Al Adha

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has confirmed that their headquarters, Croke Park will host the traditional Islamic celebration of Eid Al Adha. A date has yet to be confirmed but possible dates for the event have been narrowed down to either July 31st or August 1st.

Because of government restrictions due to the Coronavirus; all places of worship including churches, mosques and synagogues were closed since the 12th March. As part of the gradual withdrawal of lockdown regulations in the ”Re-opening of Ireland”, places of worship have been allowed to function with a maximum of 100 attendees in indoor settings since June 29th. It was decided that it would be better to celebrate Eid Al Adha in an outdoor location and Croke Park was viewed as the perfect location.

Eid Al Adha is a different holiday from the more widely known in the Western world, Eid al-Fitr which is celebrated after the completion of the fasting month of Ramadan in May.  Eid Al Adha is usually a four day long holy holiday and is known as a festival of sacrifice. Normally a lamb is sacrificed in order to give food to the poor, relatives, and to also keep for yourself.

The meaning of Eid Al Adha is also taken from the day the Prophet Ibrahim was to follow God’s command and sacrifice his own son, but while he was doing so, God told him to stop and to sacrifice a lamb instead. Hence why a lamb is usually sacrificed for the holiday.

The importance of Croke Park to Irish culture and identity cannot be underestimated. The 82,300 capacity Dublin stadium is the home of the traditional Irish Gaelic games, and the GAA has been traditionally very selective in what non-Gaelic games events can take place there. Indeed playing football and rugby in Croke Park was only allowed because of an amendment to the GAA’s Rule 42 as recently back as 2005.

The GAA President, John Horan is pleased with the confirmation of Eid Al Adha celebrations in Croke Park.

Horan said “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.

“We are delighted to welcome members of the Muslim Community to Croke Park to mark Eid Al Adha, an important date in the Muslim calendar.

“I believe the staging of this celebration fully supports our commitment to inclusion and a GAA welcome linked to our belief that it’s ‘Where We All Belong’.

“I wish everyone involved in the occasion an enjoyable visit to Croke Park Stadium as it once again shows its suitability and versatility in welcoming visitors to the venue for a wide variety of different events.”

The Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council (IMPIC) are organising the historic event, and their Chairperson, Shaykh Dr Umar Al Qadri is delighted with the news.

Al Qadri commented that “Many people living in Ireland who are members of the Muslim faith call Ireland ‘Home’. Irish Muslims have contributed significantly in many sectors across our country, especially the health sector.

“The choice of Croke Park as a venue for Eid ul Adha celebration will be symbolic to Irish Muslims in their ‘dual-identity’ as being both Irish and Muslim and the significance that Croke Park and the GAA have in Irish history.

“The GAA is making great strides in embracing all communities nationwide. Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council is profoundly grateful to Croke Park for facilitating “Eid at Croke Park” which is a clear demonstration of the GAA’s unflinching commitment to promote social inclusion and intercultural diversity.

“The historic Muslim celebration of Eid Al Adha at Croke Park this year will be a positive representation of Ireland’s growing diversity of many different faiths and communities.

“Invitations have been extended to other faith leaders and politicians to attend the Eid Al Adha in Croke Park.”

Diarmuid Sherry
Diarmuid Sherry

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