Blackburn Rovers become first UK football club to host Eid prayers on the pitch | Eid al-Fitr

Blackburn Rovers have become the first British football club to host Eid prayers on their ground.

Hundreds of people gathered in Ewood Park on Monday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Aerial footage tweeted by the club showed about half the pitch covered in prayer rugs and a sheikh delivering a sermon.

A message from the club Lily“Eid Mubarak from everyone at Blackburn Rovers. This morning #Rovers became the first football club in the country to hold Eid prayers on the pitch.

Sudanese-born Ahmed Khalifa, 37, who moved to Blackburn from the United Arab Emirates around four months ago, described how happy he was to see so many people at the stadium.

“Eid for Muslims is something very special, bringing all loved ones together,” he said. “This time, for us especially, we miss our loved ones so much.

“So it was very important for us to have this group of people. So happy to see all these people there. The people of Blackburn all seem to be part of a community, but for me, I’ve just arrived in this town… now I feel part of the community.

Blackburn Rovers play in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Khalifa is a Manchester City fan but said he will now also support his new home side. “I know it’s the English way of doing it,” he said.

“Every city [has] to support their team whatever their team does, good or bad. I will support them until they succeed.

The Eid prayer is performed as part of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, another Islamic holiday that falls later in the month. year.

On the day of Eid al-Fitr, the prayer comes after an obligatory act of charity offered to the poor by any financially capable Muslim, and is followed by a meal of sweet food.

Prayer is usually performed as part of a congregation in a large open space such as a field or a mosque, although in recent years events have been canceled or reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Dozens of social media users praised Blackburn for hosting the event. “It’s actually quite amazing,” said one. “Well done to everyone involved – quite special for a small town called Blackburn. Hopefully other clubs will follow where there is a need.

Another said: “Proud to be a Rover. Eid Mubarak.

Eid prayers were held at sites across the country on Monday morning. In Birmingham, around 30,000 people gathered at Small Heath Park, while around 20,000 people gathered at Platt Fields Park in Manchester.

Birmingham’s Edgbaston cricket ground has partnered with a local mosque to hold prayers at one of its training grounds.

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Edward L. Robinett