For the first time ever on Tuesday, a Muslim holiday with ancient roots is being celebrated at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
The holiday, which commemorates the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son at the command of God, is known as Eid Al-Adha. The celebration at the home of the Minnesota Vikings, expected to draw 20,000, is being called "Super Eid." A group of mosques that typically hold individual prayers plans to come together for one big festival — and they're inviting people of all faiths.
Imam Asad Zaman had a word of advice for curious people who might want to attend: "If somebody shoves some food in front of you, just eat it. That should be the way to go."
Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, is one of the organizers of the event. He said the Muslim community is excited about the joint celebration.
"I guess that is the core of what is the difference between 'Super Eid' and normal Eid," he said. "We're doing it together. And this has a lot to do with the fact that our community is maturing and growing, and that the U.S. Bank stadium happens to be available at this time."
Eid Al-Adha, the second Muslim holiday of the year, comes at the end of the pilgrimage. Its name in Arabic means the "festival of sacrifice."
Muslims celebrate by sacrificing animals and donating meat to charity.
But Ahmed Anshur, executive director of Masjid Al-Ihsan Islamic Center in St. Paul and one of the organizers, wants to be clear: The actual ritual will not take place at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"Nobody is going to sacrifice an animal, or nobody is going to slaughter an animal in that field," he said. "I can assure you that, 100 percent."
The event has been attacked online and there is a possibility of a protest.
But the Rev. JaNaé Bates, a spokesperson for the faith-based advocacy group ISAIAH, said those objections come from a small group of people.
"A lot of the lies that are coming out are by very few people who have a political and a greed-based initiative, they want to keep that going," she said. "And the only reason they want to do that is to drive wedges in these communities so that we can't come together. So that we can't do something wonderful and powerful and beautiful within our communities."
"Super Eid" kicks off with a morning prayer. An-all day carnival will follow, with food, zip lining, horse rides, a petting zoo and carnival games at the nearby Commons.
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