MINA, SAUDI ARABIA: While Pakistan gears up to celebrate Eidul Azha on Monday, many Muslims around the world already marked the feast on Sunday overshadowed by the Arab Spring and violence across many countries.
This year Eidul Azha, or the Feast of Sacrifice which caps the Hajj to Mecca, coincides with the Arab Spring democracy protests that have swept many nations in the region and led to the ouster of the autocratic leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
While the prices of sacrificial animals shot up rapidly across Pakistan, things were not too different in other parts of the world. In Libya, people were struggling to find the funds to mark the feast due to skyrocketing prices in the wake of a rebellion that ended with the killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi last month.
In Syria, devotees emerged from Eidul Azha prayers on Sunday morning to rally against President Bashar al Assad’s regime despite a protest crackdown the UN says has killed at least 3,000 people since March.
In a sermon delivered to Hajj pilgrims at Mount Arafat on Saturday, Saudi mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Sheikh warned the “Muslim world was passing through one of the most dangerous periods in its history”.
In Gaza City, Ismail Haniya, head of the Hamas government, addressed worshippers a and hailed the three-day feast as the “Eid of freedom” for the Arab world.
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims stoned Satan after massing in a valley near the holy city of Mina.
However, the first day of Eid was marred by considerable violence around the Muslim world.
Residents of the Nigerian city of Damaturu marked the feast amid fears and tears after deadly attacks that killed at least 150 people.
In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber killed up to eight people as they returned from Eidul Azha prayers at a mosque in the city of Baghlan.
And in Iraq, four bombs exploded in Baghdad’s Shorjah market, killing at least one person and wounding eight, security officials said.
Many countries including Iran and Bangladesh will be celebrating Eid on Monday with Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2011.
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