Muted Eid al-Adha celebrations for Muslims across Africa in shadow of economic hardship, conflicts

NAIROBI, KENYA- APRIL 21: Muslims gather to perform prayer of Eid al-Fitr that marks end of the fasting month of Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, at Sir Ali Muslim Club Ground stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on April 21, 2023. ( Gerald Anderson - Anadolu Agency )

Muslims in countries in Africa and the Middle East have observed Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, in the shadow of economic strain due to soaring inflation and record unemployment, and also sorrow amid numerous ongoing conflicts across the continent.

Muslims in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have marked a somber Eid al-Adha in the shadow of Israel’s occupation and as its deadly military onslaught on the besieged enclave for eight straight months. In Gaza, where more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, people gathered in the rubble of their neighborhoods to pray on Sunday (16 June). The authorities in Gaza said Israel had also barred the entry of sacrificial animals into the enclave, thus preventing Palestinians from performing sacrificial rituals as part of Eid al-Adha celebrations.

Second year into the war in Sudan that has killed thousands and displaced millions, also the Muslims there have welcomed the Eid al-Adha without the usual joy of celebration, as the traditional ritual of sacrificing an animal has become unaffordable for them amid the collapsing economy. Nigeria too is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in a generation, with an annual inflation soaring over 30%, the highest figure in nearly three decades, leading to widespread hardship and anger. Millions of Nigerians have had muted Eid celebration this year with many complaining that it was the first time in their lives that they could not afford to buy and slaughter a ram.