IRELAND'S PREMIER GAA stadium is to host the Muslim celebration of Eid Al Adha.
Mosques, like all churches and other places of worship across Ireland, were closed on 12 March in line with the Government's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, and as Catholics celebrated Easter at home with their immediate family, so did the Muslim community celebrate Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr.
Now however, with Ireland in its third week of Phase 3, which has seen thousands of businesses and places of worship reopening, believers will be able to celebrate the next major event on the Muslim calendar-- Eid Al Adha-- in a more normal way.
Up to 100 worshippers are allowed to gather in an indoor setting, but the decision was made to celebrate outdoors this year to accommodate more people, and Croke Park stadium yesterday announced they would play host to the celebration.
GAA President John Horan, announcing the news, said the headquarters were delighted to be able to host the occasion, also known as the 'Festival of Sacrifice'.
"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," he said.
“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.”
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council (IMPIC) Chairperson, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, said:
“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," he added.
“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 organisers hope that 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, which will take place in the outdoors on either 31 July or 1 August.
Measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 will remain in effect on the day, and it is expected that around 500 people will be able to attend while allowing for social distancing.