Eid al-Adha events held in Newham parks to avoid overcrowding of mosques hailed a success

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 August 2020

A prayer event in Brampton Park in East Ham to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. Picture: Andrew Baker

A prayer event in Brampton Park in East Ham to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. Picture: Andrew Baker

© 2020 Andrew Baker

A decision to make Newham parks available for the celebration of Eid al-Adha has been hailed a success.

Following a request from Muslim faith leaders, the council allowed some of its parks to be used for prayer events on Friday, July 31 to avoid the risk of overcrowding in mosques and surrounding areas.

The council worked with the Muslim community to put on socially distanced and regulated outdoor events, where hundreds of worshippers could pray together in safe and defined areas.

Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, who is the cabinet member for education, health and adult social care, said: “All of our faith communities have been dutifully complying with the rules around gatherings and social distancing for several months as a result of Covid-19.

“Even with the relaxation of lockdown, restrictions on the numbers of people who can gather inside places of worship are severely limited.”

All gatherings were subject to risk assessment and event management planning.

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Council officials offered guidance and support to community leaders to help ensure the safety worshippers and other park users.

Cllr Ali added: “We are delighted with the way the events ran, and thank all those in the community who worked with our officers to make sure everyone complied with health and safety, and specifically public health rules, to avoid risks.

“This has been a great example of how the council and community can work together as one, to tackle the challenges we face during this pandemic.

“It will act as a template for how we work with all our faith and community groups in the coming months.”

Eid al-Adha, which means festival of the sacrifice, commemorates the story of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to obey Allah’s command.

Anas Khan from the Newham Muslim Forum said: “We are the only area in London that have been able to coordinate closely and work with the local authority to put safety measures in place and host open air Eid prayers across the borough.

“Hundreds of hours of work were put into making this happen, with dozens of officers and councillors working all hours of the day and night - and a special mention for the superhero volunteers of the masajid and the Muslim community.”

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