By Kiersten Riedford
Eid al-Adha, one of two main Islamic holidays, was celebrated by Muslims from throughout the greater Indianapolis area June 28 at the Grand Park indoor complex in Westfield.
The celebration brought together more than 5,000 participants to commemorate the story of Abraham — a prophet in the Quran and in religious texts of Judaism and Christianity — who was willing to sacrifice his son to prove his devotion to Allah, the Arabic word for God.
The Alhuda Foundation, located in Fishers, organized the event alongside the Ahikmah Islamic Center, Al Salam Foundation, Masjid Al Mumineen, Masjid Al-Fajir and Masjid Al-Taqwa.
Ahmed Alamine is the imam — a person who leads prayers in a mosque — and director of Religious Affairs for the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association. He said his sermon focused on the importance of coming together and sacrifice.
“As (the) Muslim community and greater Indianapolis community, we have been going through a lot of challenges, whether it is homicide issues, drug overdose issues, Islamophobia issues,” Alamine said. “We have to come together to address all these issues.”
Alamine said Muslims strongly believe in the importance of family structure to build a strong community.
“(The) Muslim community and beyond (is) calling everyone to join in unity,” Alamine said. “This is not just a show, it is something that we believe in deeply because it’s part of our faith to be united.”
The message of Eid al-Adha is of hope, courage and sacrifices, according to State Sen. Fady Qaddoura, a Democrat serving District 30, which encompasses the north side of Indianapolis including portions of Washington, Pike and Lawrence Townships. He said the celebration unites all faiths and all communities together.
“It is not just the religious celebration,” Qaddoura said. “We have many of the faith communities come together and actually celebrate our unity and utilize the values that inspire the celebration to unite us. The desired outcomes of hope of love and compassion and unity are the things that bring us all collectively together.”
Alamine said Islam is the only one of the three Abrahamic faiths that celebrates Eid al-Adha, despite all three acknowledging the story of Abraham in their religious texts. He said there are more connections between the faiths than many people realize, and he encourages people to educate themselves about Islam and the connections between the Abrahamic faiths.
“In learning Islam, I encourage people to read the Quran,” Alamine said. “We tell people Islam is an extension to Christianity and Judaism. So, talk to your neighbors, talk to your coworker. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will never be able to offend a Muslim by asking questions.”
Alamine said he hopes to see the celebration develop into an interfaith event. Qaddoura said he hopes to see the space become more diverse.
“The more that we are inclusive, the more that we support one another,” Qaddoura said. “The more that we love and respect one another, the more that we act in a kind way towards our neighbors and our friends, the stronger our communities will be.”
To learn more about Eid al-Adha and Islamic celebrations, go to alhudafoundation.org.