By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - Muslims in Ethiopia has been celebrating the first day of the Eid al-Adha, a four-day religious holiday, on Sunday.
In the capital Addis Ababa, hundreds of thousands of Muslims turned out for the Eid prayer in and around the city’s old stadium which is located in the capital downtown.
Ethiopia hosts the second largest Muslim population in Sub-Saharan Africa with Muslims accounting for 34% of the over 100 million population of the country.
Sheikh Sultan Aman Ebba, head of the Addis Ababa Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, said on the occasion that compassion and charity were the values that Muslims uphold at all times.
He said Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha by praying for unity of Ethiopia -- a country that has been reeling under ethnic tensions.
Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday during which animals are generally sacrificed, the meat from which is distributed to the poor.
Ethiopian Muslims have recently welcomed a new Majlis (Supreme Council) that enjoys the support of all after decades of sectarian divisions and a political interference before Abiy Ahmed taking the office of the prime minister, who spearheaded the latest successful efforts at unifying the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation slaughtered thousands of sheep and goats for the needy in several towns of eastern Ethiopia.
Diyanet officials have been touring the towns in the region since Friday where the foundation provides meat in support of the poor.
An episode in the early history of Islam says the first followers of Prophet Mohammed fled persecution at the hands of the ruling Qurayish of Mecca and found safe haven in Ethiopia, where they had been told to go by the prophet.
The tombs of the first followers of the Prophet Mohammed are found at Ethiopia’s ancient Al Nejashi mosque in the northern Tigray region -- a historical monument that has been renovated by the Turkish Coordination and Cooperation Agency.