Worlds Largest Refugee Camp in Bangladesh Celebrates Eid al-Adha

Over one million Rohingya Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha in Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. This festival was celebrated almost a year after the brutal military crackdown that led to the exodus of the minority community from Myanmar.

Prayers were offered in makeshift mosques across southern Bangladesh to celebrate the Eid al-Adha. In Kutupalong, a massive hill settlement packed with hundreds of thousands of refugees, a muezzin called the faithful to pray as children played on a wooden carousel and ran about in dirt alleyways in new clothes for the special day.

For many refugees, this Eid al-Adha is the first since their violent expulsion from western Myanmar a year ago in a campaign of orchestrated violence likened by US and UN officials to ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar’s military began sweeping through Rohingya villages in August 2017 just days before the Eid celebrations. Muslims traditionally sacrifice animals for the three-day Eid al-Adha feast, a tribute to the prophet Abraham slaughtering a lamb after God spared Ishmael, his son. Those able to make the sacrifice known as Qurbani consume some of the meat and give the rest to the poor unable to buy food.

In Cox’s Bazar near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, where filthy camps host millions of Rohingya refugees driven away from western Myanmar, there is much need, and little to go around.

Cows, goats and sheep flooded local markets catering to the displaced Muslims in the lead up to Eid. Some better-off families pooled whatever cash they could muster to make the Islamic sacrifice, buying shares in a cow or goat. But for most refugees, such luxuries are wildly beyond their means.

Barred from legally working, and surviving hand to mouth on charity, this Eid has for many been overshadowed by the misery in Bangladesh. The sight of animals being fattened for slaughter taunted Mohammad Amin, a teenager who remembered the home-cooked meat delicacies and special gifts reserved for the holiest Islamic festivity back home.

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Source: PTI