The Islamic holy day of Id Al Adeha was marked by a public holiday in Ethiopia on Monday (21 November).
The Islamic holy day of Id Al Adeha was marked by a public holiday in Ethiopia on Monday (21 November). Id Al Adeha commemorates Abraham's sacrifice of his son, and thousands of Muslims throughout the country gathered at various mosques for special services.
SYNOPSIS: The main celebrations were held at the Anwar Mosque in Addis Ababa. Later in the service the Imam of the mosque, Haji Mohamed Sani Habib, spoke about Id Al Adeha. It coincides with the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and the Imam said it was unfortunate that only a small number of Ethiopians had been able to make the trip this year. He said this was because of problems caused by Ethiopia's current conflicts with Eritrean and Somali forces.
Those who could get into the crowded mosque left their shoes outside in the Muslim tradition, while others gathered nearby to hear the service relayed by loudspeakers.
The country's official church is the Christian Ethiopian Orthodox Church. But about 50 percent of the population is Muslim and when the Provisional Military Government came to power three years ago it decided to allow public holidays on special Muslim religious occasions.
Referring to this after the service, Addis Ababa's Mayor Makonnen Mulat hailed the decision as an historic one which had brought religious equality to the country for the first time. So, for Ethiopian Muslims, Id Al Adeha had become a doubly auspicious occasion.