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Disappointment for city's Muslim community as Eid in the park cancelled again

Thousands of Muslims in Peterborough have been left disappointed yet again after Eid in the Park celebrations were cancelled. 
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The Ramadan Eid in the Park prayers held at Central Park Peterborough has been cancelled this year. (Photo from last year by Shariqua Ahmed)

Organisers from Peterborough Mosques did not receive the go ahead from Peterborough City Council to host Eid-Ul-Fitr prayers under the current government guidelines that advise against large gatherings.

Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. 

The event is usually held at the Central Park in Peterborough, where hundreds of families gather to pray and exchange greetings and even share a picnic. This is in accordance with Prophet Muhammed’s practices (Peace be upon him), where he encouraged Eid prayers in the outdoors.  

However, the organisers have now sadly confirmed the Eid prayers will not be held at Central Park, despite organisers pushing for it as they felt an outdoor location with distancing would have been the safest option in the current climate. 

The Eid prayers will now go ahead in a Covid-safe manner at the city’s local mosques. Several restrictions have been brought in to keep the congregation safe inside the mosques including mandatory face coverings, sanitisers, personal (own) prayer mats, social distancing and restricted number of worshippers.

Nafis Ahmed said: “It’s disappointing that we have not been given the go-ahead again. We would have preferred and believe praying Eid prayers outside, with the social distancing measures, would have been the safest option for the community.  

“But we unfortunately cannot proceed within the current government guidelines. We hope to resume when restrictions are lifted for Eid ul Adha in the park. Please offer your Eid prayer at your usual masjid.” 

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: "Cases of Covid-19 are currently stable in Peterborough rather than falling so it remains vitally important that people continue to follow the national guidelines which currently prevent large public gatherings from taking place.   

 “We recognise that Eid is an important time for family and we would encourage residents to celebrate it where possible in their own homes as one household or outside in a group of 6 or two households only.  

 “We would like to thank all our communities for following the government guidelines on social distancing, wearing face coverings in public places and frequently washing your hands. Continuing to do so will control the spread of the virus and help us all return to a more normal way of life.” 

This is the third Eid in the Park that has been cancelled since the start of the pandemic last year.