US stadium: No, animal sacrifice won’t take place at Eid al-Adha event
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US stadium: No, animal sacrifice won’t take place at Eid al-Adha event

Minnesota venue rejects social media rumors saying expected 50,000 Muslim attendees will be slaughtering livestock

The US Bank Stadium, the new home of the NFL Minnesota Vikings football team in Minneapolis, September 15, 2016. (Jim Mone/AP)
The US Bank Stadium, the new home of the NFL Minnesota Vikings football team in Minneapolis, September 15, 2016. (Jim Mone/AP)

AP — A mass Muslim prayer service scheduled for Tuesday at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to mark an Islamic holiday will not feature the slaughter of animals as reports circulating online suggest.

The free event, expected to draw 50,000 people, coincides with the observance of Eid al-Adha, which means “Feast of Sacrifice.” It commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim — Abraham to Christian and Jews — to sacrifice his son.

Traditionally, during the holiday, Muslims slaughter sheep or cattle and distribute part of the meat to the poor, then eat the rest.

“Today US Bank Stadium hosted the Vikings game,” wrote one Twitter user, whose tweet was shared more than 10,000 times. “On Tuesday it will host the “Festival of Sacrifice” (google “Eid ul-Adha”) where 50,000 Muslims attending are expected to ‘sacrifice their best domestic animals, usually a cow or goat.'”

Numerous versions of the claim circulated via Twitter and on blogs.

“No animal sacrifice will take place at US Bank Stadium,” said Jenn Hathaway, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which runs US Bank Stadium. The National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings play football at the stadium. The group has paid to rent the stadium for the prayer service, she confirmed.

She said many organizations and religious groups reserve US Bank Stadium for events and gatherings of all sizes.

The four-hour prayer service is hosted by Super Eid Inc., a group of local Muslim organizations that celebrate the holiday together every year in Minneapolis, according to one of the event organizers. The annual event has been held at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the past decade. This is the first year the prayer will take place at the stadium, Hathaway told The Associated Press.

Super Eid is also hosting a festival at The Commons, a public park adjacent to the stadium. Super Eid paid the fees to host the festival, which will feature a zip line, inflatable bounce houses and a petting zoo, said Amanda Wigen, the director of programming for Green Minneapolis, the park’s operator.

“There will absolutely not be any slaughtering of animals,” Wigen said.

Minnesota is home to the nation’s largest Somali community, roughly 57,000, many who live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and are Muslim.

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