SHAFAQNA -Â Roads were closed this morning to accommodate about 15,000 people, who gathered to pray and celebrate the Eid al-Adha festival, in honour of the Islamic prophet Abraham.
Thousands unfurled their prayer mats on the asphalt outside the mosque, as Arabic prayers rang out through loudspeakers.
One attendee said the celebrations were a chance for families to come together.
“It’s a moment for us to celebrate, to forget the negative things that happen around the world at the moment, to bring the family together,” he said.
However, he said the celebrations were “bittersweet” given that atrocities were going on elsewhere.
“It’s sad, we’re trying to celebrate, but we have [those world tragedies] in the background. You can’t forget about what’s happening,” he said.
Labor senator Sam Dastyari, NSW deputy Labor leader Linda Burney and Lakemba MP Jihad Dib all addressed the crowd.
“We have been going through a very tough time but the tough times only make you stronger,” Mr Dib said.
“Take the time on this Eid of Sacrifice to think of others, those at the moment who are refugees, who are homeless, stateless, hungry, and a special prayer for those who are sick and those who are needy.”
Ms Burney, who is the local Member for nearby Canterbury, said the peaceful and diverse Eid celebrations in Lakemba were a testament to Australian multiculturalism.
“We have in this world many, many places that are experiencing dreadful outcomes and I think our area, our community, and your community has something that could teach the rest of the world,” she said.
“We should be proud … we should hold that up as a symbol of what can be done in terms of tolerance and respect.”
Festivities will continue throughout into the weekend, as Muslims families visit each other at home and exchange gifts.