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Bangladesh

Eid-ul-Azha in the time of Covid-19 and floods

Social distancing and an ailing economy mean a subdued celebration of the Muslim feast in Bangladesh

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Eid-ul-Azha in the time of Covid-19 and floods

Muslims greet each other after an Eid prayer in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

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Eid-ul-Azha, one of Islam’s most holy festivals, is only two days away, but Hashem Ali is feeling dejected, unlike in previous years.

The 47-year-old Muslim father of three and day laborer from Dinajpur district earns a meager monthly income of 9,000 taka (US$106) and struggles to support his family. His eldest son has a small grocery store that also provides some income.

So, for extra income, he rears bulls to sell at the market ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, which falls on Aug. 1 in Bangladesh this year.

During the feast millions of bulls, goats and sheep are slaughtered as sacrificial animals in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation. This year Ali has failed to sell any of the three bulls he has reared for nearly a year. The price of bulls has fallen to below half of what he expected due to the twin disasters of the Covid-19 pandemic and heavy monsoon flooding.

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