For the first time in four years and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands are expected to celebrate Eid Al-Adha at U.S. Bank Stadium next month.
A group of 40 mosques and organizations from across the state will host the holiday on either July 9 or 10, depending on the lunar calendar. The date should be set by July 1 and attendees are asked to register for the free event.
In 2018, more than 30,000 attended the celebration. Imam Asad Zaman, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said even more people are expected this time around, which would make it the largest such celebration in the western hemisphere.
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," and commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.
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“It also coincides with the Hajj or pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, which is a lifetime obligation for every Muslim who is able to do so,” Zaman explained.
While the 2018 event faced online attacks and threats of protests, faith leaders said on Friday there have not been such threats this year that they have heard of. Event co-chair Abdullahi Aden said organizers are coordinating with Metro Transit police and other authorities.
“We want people to see who Muslims are and experience this, and hopefully we will clarify a lot of misconceptions people have about the Muslims that live in the state of Minnesota,” Aden said.
Yusuf Abdulle, Executive Director of the Islamic Association of North America, said people of all faiths are welcome to the celebration, where there will be prayer, food and a variety of family-friendly activities including a carnival.
“We warmly welcome all Minnesotans from every community to share and enjoy the fun and blessings of this holiday,” Abdulle said.