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Minnesota Muslims preparing for Eid-al-Adha at the Mall of America

Muslims across Minnesota are getting ready to celebrate Eid-al-Adha
Muslims across Minnesota are getting ready to celebrate Eid-al-Adha 02:01

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Minnesota Muslims are preparing to celebrate Eid-al-Adha Sunday, a day full of worship, unity and fun.

It's the second major Muslim holiday after Eid-al-Fitr.

For many including Yonis Said the celebration takes them to Mall of America.

"It is thee spot; Mall of America is a place we'd always go to," Said stated.

Growing up, Said looked forward to experiencing all the mall had to offer from eating food to enjoying the rides, he loved it so much he spent much of his youth working there too.

Eid is a celebration that brings tens of thousands of Minnesota Muslims to Mall of America.

"My fav thing about Eid is going to MOA and spending time with my family members," said 11-year-old Fatima Abdulqadir.

Abdulahi Farah is a community leader who grew up in Minnesota. He says year after year the Somali community continues to grow and space to gather is limited.  

"Mall of America is one of those venues where you can bring the young kids, bring the teens, you can bring the whole family," Farah said.

For the last few years, Farah along with other volunteers patrol the mall on Eid to ensure safety, but a brawl a few months ago is the reason for operational changes.

Somali community leaders, Mall of America officials and Bloomington Police have met to discuss a safety plan ahead of Eid Sunday.

A plan Farah says is crucial.

"Sometimes there are few bad apples that might ruin it for everyone and that is why as fathers and mothers we are coming here to volunteer and make sure all youth are enjoying themselves," Farah stated.

Mall of America is putting its parental escort policy into effect all day Sunday. This is the same policy that goes into place on Black Friday and Christmas.

"The mall came with some rules, anybody under 18 must have an adult with them and must have an ID," he said. "These are some ways to mitigate the situation."

In a statement, MOA officials say,

Throughout the years, we have experienced disruptive behavior during the Eid celebration at Mall of America, particularly involving groups of youths causing disturbances. To ensure an enjoyable visit for everyone, we are implementing some operational changes this Sunday. These measures include limiting external entrances and enforcing our parental escort policy all day for those under 18. Leaders within the community celebrating Eid have expressed their support for these additional security measures. Our goal is to allow those celebrating the holiday or visiting the Mall to have a fun and positive experience. We are also focused on the safety and security of our team members and tenants, who work hard to provide an exceptional experience for our guests. 

Farah says volunteers like himself will also be at MOA to ensure a safe celebration Sunday.

"My greatest hope is families come, have a good Eid and we don't have any situations that put a negative light on the community," he stated.

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