DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Muslims worldwide have marked the Eid al-Adha holiday amid a global pandemic that has impacted nearly every aspect of this year’s celebrations.
Around the world, Muslims gathered with relatives or at home on Friday to mark the start of Eid.
In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, streets were largely empty due to a 10-day lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent further spread of the virus. Kosovo and the United Arab Emirates also closed mosques for Eid prayers to limit the spread of the virus.
The last days of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice,” in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor. The hajj has too been dramatically impacted this year, with as few as 1,000 pilgrims allowed to take part compared to last year’s 2.5 million.
The pandemic has also pushed millions of people around the world closer to the brink of poverty, making it harder for many to fulfill the religious tradition of purchasing livestock.
In Somalia, the price of meat has slightly increased. Abdishakur Dahir, a civil servant in Mogadishu, said that for the first time he won’t be able to afford goat for Eid because of the impact of the virus on work.
“I could hardly buy food for my family,” Dahir said. “We are just surviving for now. Life is getting tougher by the day.”
In some parts of West Africa, the price for a ram has doubled. Livestock sellers, used to doing brisk business in the days before the holiday, say sales have dwindled and those who are buying can’t afford much.
“The situation is really complicated by the coronavirus, it’s a tough market,” Oumar Maiga, a livestock trader in Ivory Coast said. “We are in a situation we’ve never seen in other years.”
In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, people were allowed to attend Eid prayers in mosques under strict health guidelines, including that they bring their own prayer mats and pray several feet apart from one another. Worshipers must wear masks and are not allowed to shake hands or hug.
Authorities in Indonesia also ordered that meat be delivered door-to-door to the poor to avoid long lines.
“This outbreak has not only changed our tradition entirely, but has also made more and more people fall into poverty,” said Agus Supriatna, an Indonesian factory worker who was laid off this year because of the pandemic.
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