Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son out of faith in Allah and Allah’s mercy on us all. Today we take this opportunity to offer our gratitude to the brave fathers and the mothers who are willing to sacrifice their sons and daughters to protect Pakistan from its enemies. We thank our brave armed forces for defending Pakistan and sacrificing their lives to ensure that we are able to celebrate this joyous occasion without fear of chemical bombs falling on our homes and death surrounding us. We have also our civilian government to appreciate for all their efforts to combat terrorism and create a conducive environment to allow these activities to take place in the country.

While in Pakistan we have much to be thankful for, our Muslim brothers in Syria suffer at the hands of all the forces that have destroyed the nation and its people. A UN commission of inquiry has evidence that all parties to the conflict have committed war crimes - including murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearances. They have also been accused of using civilian suffering, such as blocking access to food, water and health services through sieges, as a method of war. Such are the conditions in the country where Eid will not be a joyous occasion rather than a day of mourning where more people have sacrificed everything they have loved; their homes, their loved ones and their country, than one can count.

Yemen continues to bleed too as it is bombarded with cluster bombs, which have been used since World War II to kill and maim indiscriminately, and have been outlawed under an international treaty that was adopted in 2008. Yet in Yemen, seven kinds of cluster munitions were used in 19 attacks from April 2015 to February of this year as part of the Saudi-led coalition’s fight against Shiite Houthi rebels. Palestinians remain under oppression and cruelty from their occupiers and the world remains silent still. Muslim countries remain entangled in a bloody war that sees no end in the near future. Ceasefires are administered and broken and the violence continues on despite efforts made to ease the conflict. Such are the conditions under which large numbers of Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid today. Today we are thankful for our country and the resilience of the nation. Today we celebrate, but also pray for Muslims around the world that have suffered for far too long.