European leaders and Muslims across the continent have been marking the first day of the Qurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice), also known as Eid al-Adha festival with prayer, messages of goodwill, and the hope that more mosques can be built.
Muslim families traditionally go to mosques in their finest clothes on the first day of the festival. More affluent Muslims will also sacrifice livestock - commonly, a cow or a sheep - as a symbol of Prophet Abraham's (Ibrahim) willingness to sacrifice his only son.
It is traditional for a portion of the resulting meat to be distributed to the poor and the needy.
Muslims in Britain's Turkish community were preparing to gather at some of the city's largest mosques - including the Süleymaniye and Aziziye, both located in North London - as the festival got underway.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to the festival's ability to bring families and friends "together to pray and feast, and Muslims across different continents are brought together in faith."
In a video message she released on Monday, May said Muslims in Britain were making a vast contribution to the country.
"And as you share in that spirit of togetherness, I think proudly of the many ways people in this country connect with each other and enrich our nation's life," she said.
"I see this in politics where British Muslims are making a real difference, in enterprise and the running of multimillion pound businesses, and in the courage and dedication of those who safeguard our streets and serve in our armed forces, I see this in the charity and compassion of our Muslim communities, whose members give so generously to those less fortunate." May said.
Bayram is for refugees too
It was an important moment for the nearly 3 million Turkish citizens living in Germany, many of whom visited mosques around the country to mark the first day of the festival.
The focal gathering point for worshippers was the central Şehitlik Mosque in Berlin, where congregants were told in a sermon that the millions of refugees currently in Germany should be made to feel the joy of bayram as well.
Turkey's charge d'affaires in Berlin, Ufuk Gezer, and Consul-General Ahmet Başar Şen were among the dignitaries at the mosque to greet local residents.
"What makes a festival a festival is their ability to foster unity and solidarity," Gezer told Anadolu Agency.
Similar scenes were played out in Vienna, where Turkish citizens turned out in huge numbers at the Turkish Islam Union of Austria (ATIB) mosque.
Among them were Vienna Consul-General Tayyar Kağan Atay and Hakan Emrem, the Turkish religious services attaché in the Austrian capital.
ATIB president Fatih Mehmet Karakaş, who led the services at the mosque, told Anadolu Agency that the Turkish Religious Affairs Department had organized animal sacrifice services in 500 regions across 130 countries of the world.
In Greece, Muslims expressed the hope their country would soon begin a program of official mosque construction.
The Greek parliament approved the construction of official mosques in Athens early last month, after bureaucracy had allegedly blocked the implementation of a similar law that passed in 2000.
Naim Elghandour, chairman of the Muslim Association of Greece, said he did not have high hopes the law would be implemented this time around either.
"Since 2006, dozens of decisions have been made and dozens of signatures. This is why I am not so excited; it is yet another scam. I will be happy when I see the construction begin," he told Anadolu Agency.
Karem al-Desouhi, 21, who was preparing to attend prayers at a makeshift mosque in a public school's gymnasium, was also skeptical: "It is a positive step but we will wait to see if it will be implemented properly and if it will really happen," he said before attending the morning prayer.
"For me, it doesn't change anything, we have been praying anyway. Now that the law passed and the mosque will be built, it will be too far away [from his neighborhood]," his father Mohammed, 50, added.
"We pray five times a day. You cannot travel a long distance five times a day. The [unofficial] mosques we have are just fine," he told Anadolu Agency.
Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Azerbaijanis and Turks gathered in the Ar-Rahma Mosque and Kiev Expo Plaza in the Ukrainian capital and sacrificed animals to mark Qurban Bayram.
Meanwhile, heightened security measures were implemented at the central mosque in the Russian capital Moscow, where many had to pray outside the building because of limited space inside.
Mounted police were among the officers providing security during the prayers.
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