THOUSANDS of Muslims are being urged to celebrate Eid this week in a safe manner amid the spectre of the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival of Eid al-Adha starts on the evening of Thursday July 30 and finishes on the evening of Monday August 3, with July 31 being the main day of celebration.

This Eid is referred to as ‘little Eid’ where instead of a month of fasting, an animal sacrifice is made to replicate the way the prophet Ibrahim did for his son.

The South Asian community in Blackburn has become the centre of a spike in coronavirus infections over the last few weeks which has seen the borough made an 'area of intervention' and town leaders are keen everyone celebrates safely.

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council Mohammed Khan said: “This Eid is very important to those celebrating as it is about the sacrifice of Ibrahim.

“The message from us is quite clear, to protect your friends and family by adhering to guidelines and our extra measures.

“Worshippers will be asked to wear masks in mosques and no handshakes and hugs as you normally would do.

“The mosques have done a good job in preparing for the prayer, which will be limited and at different times for everyone’s safety, we hope people will understand this.”

Councillor Saima Afzal, ward councillor for Blackburn Central, said: “It is not just about Eid, it is about any gathering or celebration taking place during these times.

“I am still going to get dressed up and have food, but we are going to celebrate by video calling everyone.

“We are doing what we can do with a distance because it is not just about me, it is about keeping everyone safe.

“I do want to warn people that when they go out they may see some families walking together and think they are not of the same household, but they are.”

Mosques are only allowing Eid prayers in appointment based groups, with one-way systems and time in between to clean down spaces.

Councillor Hussain Akhtar, representing Shear Brow and Corporation Park, said: “The mosques in our area are going to read Eid in the morning with very limited numbers and at different times.

“The first being at 6am and the second at half past eight.

“People are also being advised to wear masks and bring their own prayer mats.

“The mosques in Shear Brow will also check temperatures of everyone before entering in small groups.

Councillor Akhtar has also been giving out leaflets to businesses in the area on the correct way to allow people to shop at Eid.

The council in Pendle, which also saw a spike in cases which has since receded, also released a statement advising people to celebrate with caution and adhere to social distancing while enjoying their day.

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council said: “Eid al-Adha will need to be celebrated differently this year in Pendle.

“That’s why we’re encouraging people who are celebrating Eid to take part in outdoor prayers if possible.

“People should only attend indoor prayers which are strictly Covid-secure.”

“And it’s vitally important that people do not gather outside or inside mosques either before or after prayers.”

Worshippers are being asked not to congregate outside mosques following Eid prayers in new advice released by the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM).

The LCM has unveiled a set guidelines to ensure people remain safe during celebrations.

Although it is traditional to visit the cemetery on Eid day itself, the LCM requests that in the current crisis, only essential visits are made.

In statement the LCM said: "We would like to thank you all for your hard work and unmeasurable sacrifices in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus. We recognise that this has been an emotional and challenging time for all of us.

"Your hard work and sacrifices have been effective in saving lives and reducing the pressure on the NHS.

"We must continue with this hard work and sacrifices to save more lives. Our simple message is; Observe social distancing measures at all times."