MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. The Moscow Cathedral Mosque has become the epicenter for celebrations to mark Eid al-Adha (also known as the Festival of Sacrifice), the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide. Thousands of believers gathered on Tuesday for a prayer service led by Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, Chairman of the Council of Muftis and the Religious Board of Muslims of Russia, a TASS correspondent reported.
"(Eid) prayers in mosques and communities in our country traditionally bring together representatives of various ethnic groups from Russia and even from around the world of any age, both young and old. Our state has historically been based on such unshakable foundations as faith, moral principles, family values, which in their entirety determine the way of life of the country’s population with its ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity," Gainutdin said.
He called on all Muslims during the Eid al-Adha festival not just to take care of themselves and their next of kin but also of their neighbors.
The Eid al-Adha festival will be celebrated in five mosques and at three additional sites in Moscow, while another 39 sites located in the Moscow Region will be able to hold about 100,000 people. In Moscow itself, up to 250,000 Muslims are expected to take part in the celebrations.
The Eid al-Adha festival, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is marked on the tenth day of the 12th month of the Muslim lunar calendar and marks the end of Muslims’ pilgrimage to Mecca. The ceremony traditionally begins with sermons and prayers. The culmination is an animal sacrifice to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham in Biblical transcription) to sacrifice his son to God, but the Almighty sent Ibrahim a ram that he slaughtered instead of his son.