The fifth annual Eid al-Adha, celebrating the Sacrifice of the Prophet Abraham and the end of the Hajj, was observed in Scotland by the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society (SABS), through an interfaith Eid dinner on 13 August at the MacDonald Hotel near the Scottish Parliament.
With the aim to strengthen the bonds of friendship and fellowship between the Muslims and the esteemed members of Scotland’s faith families, SABS celebrated the festival by sharing a meal with guests from all faiths to mark the auspicious Islamic festival.
The Banner on the occasion had a quote from ImāmʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, that set the mood for the evening. The banner read: Man is either your Brother in Faith, or your Equal in Humanity
The annual event this year had esteemed guests Ash Denham MSP, present on behalf of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, His Grace Archbishop Leo Cushley; the Most Reverend Mark Strange Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Rev David Pickering, Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland. Puneet Dwivedi from Hindu Forum of London represented the Hindu community.
The keynote speech was played out through a video by Mother Audrey Kitagawa, Chair of the Parliament of World’s Religions.
The Minister Ash Denham MSP started the opening speech saying that the “first minister wants to be here so much and she asked that I send you her apologies for being unable to be here this evening, and to wish you all a very successful event. However, I am delighted to be here with you on her behalf and to celebrate the holy festival of Eid al-adha with you this evening”.
She continued, “for Muslims here and all around the world, it’s a time for reaffirming the values of your faith – those values of devotion, thanksgiving, and charity are truly universal. And that is one of the reasons why we see Muslims and non-Muslims alike coming together to celebrate”.
She acknowledged that the scale of Eid celebration in this country involving people from all faiths, demonstrated the central role that Scotland’s Muslim community plays in Scottish national life. “Scottish Muslims have helped to shape Scotland’s modern identity and continue to enrich our economy, culture and society,” she said.
The Chief Imam Syed Ali Abbas Razwi mentioned in his speech those things that make Scotland a unique place for all faiths to come together and highlighted the importance of diversity and the challenges we face.
Shabir Beg, the Chairman of SABS, delivered an emotional, anecdotal closing remark about his community engagement that gives a voice to the Scottish Shia Muslims. He said that he has been working hard to engage with other communities and faiths; strengthening ties in an effort to create a setting for religious and racial harmony, and diversity in Scotland.
One of his landmark achievements has been to raise awareness for the need of blood donors in Scotland. SABS works in partnership with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS), NHS National Services Scotland, and the Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign to fill the gap in the system, which would benefit thousands every year.
The evening was an inclusive celebration of Eid and the organisers are appreciative of the support given by all, in their contributions to our shared humanitarian mission.
Smita is a multi-cultural freelance journalist, writer, and filmmaker based out of the US, London, Hong Kong, and India. Global Indian Stories is her brain-child. Created to chronicle diaspora stories written by Indians of all age groups, from different walks of life across the globe, Smita makes sure that the platform remains inclusive and positive.