A Muslim group twice firebombed in Donegall Pass, South Belfast, found a new home today for its annual Eid Al-Adha celebration - a West Belfast GAA pitch.

And the unique collaboration between Davitt's GAC and the Belfast Multicultural Centre was given the thumbs-up by VIP attendees First Minister Designate Michelle O'Neill and Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black.

SELFIE WITH FIRST MINISTER ELECT: At the Davitt's Eid celebration
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SELFIE WITH FIRST MINISTER ELECT: At the Davitt's Eid celebration

 

Over 2,000 worshippers attended prayers and a reception afterwards at the West Belfast venue which marked the second and biggest of the two main holidays celebrated in the Islamic world.

Addressing worshippers, Michelle O'Neill, who donned a hijab during the ceremony, saluted the Muslim community for its "generous" contribution to society here. 

“I’m a champion of inclusion and I am here to help make this place which we all belong together a home richer in its diversity,” she said.

EID AL-ADHA: Prayers during the 'Holiday of the Sacrifice' celebration
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EID AL-ADHA: Prayers during the 'Holiday of the Sacrifice' celebration

“I’m working to build a society, not of orange and green, but of a whole rainbow of cultures, multiculturalism, which reflects who we are and where we stand today.”

Mohammad Ali Khan of the Belfast Multicultural Centre paid tribute to Davitt's GAC for facilitating the celebration. "It was an absolutely wonderful day," he said.

West Belfast MP, Paul Maskey who first suggested the use of Davitt's pitch for the Eid ceremony was also among guests. Simultaneous to the West Belfast celebration, Muslims gathered in Croke Park for the fourth Eid gathering at the GAA headquarters.

Several refugee and asylum-seeking families were among the faithful gathered for the ceremony. 

WEST FIRST: Gathering for Eid at Davitt's
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WEST FIRST: Gathering for Eid at Davitt's