World Bulletin / News Desk
Almost two million Muslims now making the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia marked the first day of the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday by symbolically stoning the devil -- a ritual known as the “Great Jamara” -- near the holy city of Mecca.
In Egypt, meanwhile, millions of Muslims attended Eid prayers in public squares across the country amid a carnival-like atmosphere accompanied by heavy security measures.
Sheikh Jaber Tayei, head of the religious department at Egypt’s Ministry of Awqaf (religious affairs), put the total number of public squares officially reserved for Eid prayers at more than 5,000 countrywide.
And in the city of Al-Bab in northern Syria’s war-weary Aleppo province, thousands of Muslims performed Eid prayers at the Omar bin al-Khattab Mosque before slaughtering livestock for the annual feast.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Al-Bab resident Muath al-Hamidi, who attended prayers at the mosque, said the people of Al-Bab were “delighted” to celebrate their first Eid al-Adha since the city was retaken from the Daesh terrorist group last year.
“The people of Al-Bab remain indebted to the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which worked together to liberate the city,” al-Hamidi asserted.
Last year, the Turkish army, working in tandem with the FSA, purged the Turkey-Syria border area of terrorist elements within the context of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield.
In Lebanon, meanwhile, thousands of Muslims turned out for Eid prayers at central Beirut’s Mohammed al-Ameen Mosque.
Delivering his Eid sermon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Darian, Lebanon’s grand mufti, referred to the situation in Palestine, saying Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque both “remain under attack by the Israeli enemy”.
Darian called on Muslims worldwide not to abandon the Palestinian cause, declaring: “There can be no dignity for Arabs and Muslims as long as Palestine remains under [Israeli] occupation.”
“Nor should we forget the millions of people killed in their own countries by tyrants,” he added, “or those who have been unjustly driven from their land.”
Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, too, marked the first day of Eid by slaughtering livestock in public squares and on the streets outside their homes.
This year’s Eid al-Adha comes amid particularly difficult economic circumstances for the people of Gaza, who for the last 10 years have groaned under a crippling embargo imposed by Israel and Egypt.
According to Gaza’s Agriculture Ministry, the purchase of sacrificial animals this year was relatively low, despite a year-on-year reduction of livestock prices.
Due to the ongoing Israeli/Egyptian blockade, which has led to high levels of poverty and unemployment, almost 80 percent of the strip’s population now depends on assistance provided by international and local aid institutions, according to UN figures.
The four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, or “Feast of the Sacrifice”, is considered one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar.
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