Manama: Kuwait has banned the holding of Eid prayers in open areas this year, citing security considerations.
Under a decision announced by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the prayers held in the early morning of Eid will be confined to the large mosques where Friday prayers are usually held.
The decision was taken following intensive consultations and coordination with the Ministry of Interior, Ahmad Al Qarawi, the spokesperson for the media department at the endowments ministry, said.
The interior ministry strongly recommended the cancellation this year of the open areas, often the size of a small stadium, where the prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, are held.
The endowments ministry stressed in a statement carried on Saturday that the decision did not mean there would be no Eid prayers next week, but that they would be held only in large mosques.
Eid is expected to be on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the decision of an ad-hoc moon-sighting committee that will convene on Monday evening.
Muslims in Kuwait started their month-long fast on June 6, alongside Muslims in most other countries.
On June 26 last year, a suicide bomber took advantage of the Friday group prayer in Al Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait City to kill 27 people and wound 227 in the worst terrorist attack to hit the northern Arabian Gulf state in modern times.
The bombing was promptly and uncompromisingly condemned by Kuwait’s leaders and triggered waves of messages on social media promoting national unity.
Last month, the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah performed noon prayers in the renovated mosque.
The ruler, who had visited the Shiite mosque hours after the terrorist attack, also met relatives of those killed and wounded while performing the Friday prayers.
“Our national unity is the unassailable fence that safeguards security,” Shaikh Sabah told them. “The patriotic spirit manifested by the people of Kuwait and their love, devotion and allegiance to their homeland would fend off all criminal and terrorist acts.”
Crown Prince Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah lauded the unity of Kuwaitis as they confronted the challenge of heinous terrorism.
“One year after the terrible attack on Imam Al Sadiq Mosque and the destruction and damage resulting from an awry terrorist ideology, we thank God that the renovation works were finished in a short time and that life as before is resuming, thus proving the unity of the nation in confronting all deviations,” Shaikh Nawaf said. “Kuwait’s leaders, government and people are a single family that is united through both good and trying times.”
Several relatives said they valued the visit by the country’s leaders to the mosque, located in a busy area to the east of the capital Kuwait City, saying it reflected the national unity that terrorists wanted to undermine.