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GTA Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

As Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, thousands gathered in Toronto and across the GTA to mark the holy day.

About 10,000 people attended an event at the Better Living Centre on the CNE grounds while about 5,000 more gathered for prayers at the International Muslims Organisation of Toronto on Rexdale Boulevard.

And at Al-Falah mosque in Oakville, sunrise prayers were followed by a toy drive.

Children were given two toys as part of the A Toy For You A Toy For Your Neighbour initiative.

Kids should keep one toy for themselves and give the other toy to someone else, organizer Asim Hussain said.

The goal, Hussain explained, is to foster community and encourage children to share. It’s also a way to spark a conversation about Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

The festival celebrates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son Isma’il to God. At the last moment, God spared the boy’s life and Ibrahim sacrificed a ram instead.

Eid al-Adha marks the end of the hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca.

The Hajj pilgrimage is one of Islam’s five pillars and a religious duty for all Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime if they are physically able.

Millions of worshipers from 189 countries gathered in Saudi Arabia to throw stones at pillars meant to represent Satan — a ritual that will continue through Sunday.