Croke Park Stadium will take an important step in the world of equality at the end of this month when it hosts a special event marking the Muslim celebration of Eid Al Adha.
In line with Government advice, mosques, like all other places of worship, have been closed since the 12th of March and now they are reopening are only doing so yet with limited capacity.
This year the holy month of Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr celebrations, akin to a mix of a very well observed lent followed by Christmas in the Christmas tradition, took place in homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Eid Al Adha is the next major event on the Muslim calendar and a decision was taken to celebrate this outdoors. An approach to Croke Park given its size and scale and also given the empty calendar of sport that would normally have filled it through the summer, was made and the event will take place on either July 31st or August 1st, depending on the sighting of the moon.
In terms of a better understanding across faiths and cultures it is important to not only understand but to integrate, to have difference not just on the same pitch but as part of the same team. This may not have happened without the disruption of Covid-19 but if it helps both sides to draw closer and realise their similarities ahead of their differences then it will be one of the better things to emerge.
The festival celebrates the willingness of Ibrahim or Abraham to sacrifice his son to God. One of the traditions associated with the festival is that one third of what is eaten is for your own family, one third given where possible to friends and relatives and one third donated to the poor and those in need.
“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,” said GAA President John Horan.
“We are delighted to welcome members of the Muslim Community to Croke Park to mark Eid Al Adha.”
“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, added:
“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,” added Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Quadri, Chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council.
“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. The Irish Muslim Peace and 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.”
Invitations have been extended to other faith leaders and politicians to attend the Eid Al Adha in Croke Park.