500 members of Ireland's Muslim community gathered in Croke Park on Tuesday morning to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Tuesday's celebration was the largest gathering of Muslims in Ireland since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and the second year in succession that the holiday was celebrated at GAA headquarters in Croke Park in Dublin.
Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri from Blanchardstown mosque led Eid prayers on Tuesday morning, while GAA president Larry McCarthy, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, and Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers also addressed the gathering.
Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha.
Eid prayers are being held at Croke Park, led by Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri. https://t.co/L5tmqbMapz— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 20, 2021
As per the Irish government's latest restrictions on religious services, in-person religious services are permitted with protective measures with a maximum attendance of 50 people. However, where the size of the premises allows for a capacity of greater than 50 people, an event may be held as long as certain guidelines are adhered to.
Dr. Al-Qadri, the chairperson of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council (IMPIC), quoted Cork hurling legend Christy Ring during his sermon and said that the best days are yet to come for Ireland's Muslim community.
He also urged people not to blame marginalized communities for societal problems in Ireland, such as the current housing crisis.
Dr. Al-Qadri also thanked the GAA for hosting the event, which was attended by an additional 300 people compared to the same event last year.
On behalf of myself and the entire @IMPIC_ie team, a huge thank you to @officialgaa and all of our amazing guests today. One for the history books. #EidMubarak #EidAlAdha@jackfchambers @MaryLouMcDonald @PaulDonnellySF @neasa_neasa @marie_sherlock #AbrahamicFaithLeaders pic.twitter.com/vrz6Bz54hN— Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri (@DrUmarAlQadri) July 20, 2021
GAA President Larry McCarthy said that the organization was happy to host the Eid al-Adha celebrations for the second year running, while Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said that the event was a reflection of a more open accepting Irish society. However, he stressed that there was always more work to be done.
I've been to Croke Park on so many incredible days but today is among the most inspiring and memorable.July 20, 2021
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, meanwhile, paid tribute to the Muslim Sisters of Eire, who run a soup kitchen in inner-city Dublin every Friday night.
Great joy celebrating #EidAlAdha2021 in Dublin @CrokePark The Irish Muslim community is a cherished part of our society. This is our shared home. Let's build the future together. Ní neart go cur le chéile #EidMubarak pic.twitter.com/oWE4FeQWSE— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) July 20, 2021
RTÉ journalist Maria Flannery shared this video of the Irish national anthem being sung by the Islamic Centre of Ireland's children's choir:
Journalist Brianna Parkins reported that there were only a few protesters outside of Croke Park, to which IMPIC replied: "If they'd have come in we'd have given them tea and chocolates."
If they'd have come in we'd have given them tea and chocolates like. 🤷♂️— IMPIC.ie (@IMPIC_ie) July 20, 2021
Earlier on Tuesday, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins thanked the Muslim community in Ireland for "all they contribute to the society we share".
"Your gathering in the iconic Irish setting of Croke Park to celebrate Eid al-Adha once again symbolizes the importance of our Muslim community within Irish society, and the valued contribution that those of faith make to our society," Higgins said in a statement.
"Today I am delighted to pay tribute to our Muslim sisters and brothers and to thank you for enriching our communities in so many ways."