World, Culture, Africa

The African continent celebrates Eid al-Adha

Muslim leaders in Africa call for peace and perseverance on Eid al-Adha amidst war and economic hardships

12.09.2016
The African continent celebrates Eid al-Adha ( Ihsaan Haffejee - Anadolu Agency )

KAMPALA, Uganda

Millions of Muslims across Africa have marked Eid al-Adha with a call for peace and perseverance.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in his Eid message saluted the “piety and sacrifice” of his countrymen in the face of biting economic downturn, assuring them of better years as his government works to fix the crisis.

"I salute your steadfastness in spite of the difficult economic times the country is going through," said Buhari in a country where about half of the population is Muslim and resides overwhelmingly in the North.

"The lessons of Eid are piety and sacrifice and, my dear brothers and sisters, you have exhibited these in equal measure," he stressed.

Local news media have reported that many Muslim households have been unable to afford sacrificial animals as a result of the rise in the cost of commodities and fall in the purchasing powers of average citizens.

Kenya: Eid al-Adha a public holiday for the first time

In the Eastern Democratic republic of Congo, Muslims were asked to cease infighting, stay united and continue giving to the poor.

In Kenya, it was history in the making as they celebrated the feast of sacrifice with the government that declared Eid al-Adha a public holiday for the first time.

The Kenyan government said it has realized "€œthe pivotal role played by religion in fostering cohesion and positive social order," and was acting in solidarity with Kenyans of the Islamic faith, which make up a little over 10 percent of the population.

In his Eid message to Muslims, Zambia’s president-elect Edgar Lunga asked all religious movements in the country to pray for peace enjoyed in the past 50 years.

"€œAfter the elections, there is a ­strong possibility th­at we can lose the p­eace we have enjoyed ­thus far."€

Suzgo Zimba the president Islamic Su­preme Council of Zamb­ia noted that the August election had left the country, "broken and in need of healing"€.

Eid means more businees in Somalia

In Ethiopia Eid was celebrated with mixed feelings of joyful religious fervor and apprehension.

Ahmed Mohammed a renowned Islamic scholar in the capital noted that Monday’s celebrations were an opportunity to pray for the country that finds itself in "€œa sort of turmoil and needs divine intervention"€.

Last week, the Ethiopian government pardoned 707 prisoners including 14 members of the Muslim Arbitration Committee who had been jailed four years ago for allegedly accusing the government of interfering in religious affairs.

In Mogadishu, thousands of Muslim shoppers thronged main markets as preparations for the forthcoming Eid al-Adha celebrations.

The business boom has seen some businessmen raise the prices of erstwhile cheaper items to capitalize on the high demand.

"€œThe congestion of the customers started at 6 a.m. every day and people have been trying hard to convince our customers to remain calm,"€ said Hamdi Adan Ali who sells shoes at the Bakara market in the Somali capital in Mogadishu.

Eid during conflict

Blighted by almost three years of civil war, South Sudan Muslim leaders urged the Muslim population, which accounts for 6 percent of the population to "use the holiday as a symbol of peace and forgiveness"€.

South Sudan’s Islamic council Secretary General Altahir Bior said: "€œPeace is all we desire, peace is more than silencing of guns, we want peace and freedom to live in dignity, through Allah, we will achieve it,"€ he said.

The Islamic Council rapporteur in South Sudan’s Central Equatorial State Khamis Sebit argued that the economic crisis and skyrocketing food prices were a test from Allah.

"€œGod is testing our faith, if South Sudanese overcome civil unrest, inflation then we are strong in faith,"€ he said.

Ugandan Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje called on Muslims embrace the true meaning of Islam.

"Let us as Muslims maintain peace so that Islam is known and respected for peace," he said.€

Mufti Mubajje also lamented about the ongoing wars especially in Muslim countries where Muslims are killing each other.

He cited Saudi Arabia that is at war with Yemen saying, "€œIf this war continues, it will eventually affect our Holy cities of Mecca and Medina which are the epitome of peace."€

Back west

In Liberia, chief imam of Liberia Sheik Ali Krayee told Anadolu Agency that the message of the day focused on "Integrity and peace as the country prepares for elections in 2017".

Meanwhile, Senegalese President Mackay Sall also wished his countrymen a successful Eid -- known as “Tabaski” in the local Wolof language – and vowed to work for stable world peace.

However, Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated by slaughtering animals, has caused a somewhat unexpected development.

The ram sellers are not happy. Beskai Diop, 43, a ram seller in Ouakam, just outside Dakar, told Analdou Agency: "€œMost buyers are not willing to pay the standard price for rams which is around $3,000 for a full grown ram. They always say the economic hardship is too much."€

But he adds: "As sellers we also go the extra mile to keep these rams healthy and fit for the sacrifice."€

Story contribution by Andrew Wasike- Kenya, Addis Getachew-Ethiopia, Rafiu Ajakaye-Nigeria, Francis Maingaila-Zambia, Mongi Zulu -Swaziland, Halima Athumani-Uganda, Alpha Kamara-Senegal,Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh-Liberia, Godfrey Olukya-DRC,Parach Mach-€“South Sudan and Mohamed Adam-Somalia .

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