The Egyptian Fatima Naut described Eid al Adha - the feast of sacrifice that 1.5 billion Muslims celebrate as of this Sunday around the world - as "the greatest massacre committed by human beings . " The quotation recalls the passage shared by the Abrahamic religions in which Ibrahim (Abraham) is willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isaac, in the Bible) and God intervenes and provides him with a lamb. Muslim feasts last for four days and drag the sambenito of animal cruelty. From the streets of Melilla to those of Cairo or Islamabad. In Spain alone it is estimated that there will be 300,000 animals slaughtered .
Fatima's order earned him a three-year jail sentence for blasphemy. «I keep my opinion. If we sacrifice animals to feed people, we must follow the most compassionate methods, ”this poet replies in conversation with Chronicle . Impervious to the storm that caused his words, Fatima explained his position in the pages of a local newspaper: “It is an annual massacre because a good man once had a nightmare about his good son, and although that nightmare passed for the good man and his son, but instead, the sheep now lose their lives as a price for that holy nightmare.
A movement, still silent and under construction, has begun to break through among Muslims. The snapshots that each Feast of the Sacrifice throws - with the bodies of lambs, water buffalo, cows, goats or camels dying in broad daylight, between pools of blood - have begun to make a dent. «If the Prophet Muhammad were alive, he would feel horrified. This is not what he came to tell us. He rebuked his companions for hurting the feelings of a mother bird when they snatched her chicks to play with them. If I now saw how millions of animals are mistreated throughout the Muslim world, I would condemn it, ”argues Sammer Hakim , founder of the Muslim Vegan Initiative, a group that tries to raise awareness among the faithful of Muhammad about the impact of choosing their diet It has on the health of the planet.
“Eid has gone from being, in its origins, a festival of helping others to a bloody and large-scale massacre of hundreds of millions of animals. The original meaning has been lost, which was to sacrifice what is very dear or valuable so that it can be shared with others. Today animals are killed because tradition dictates. I think we have to stop and reexamine this practice in the light of the real and complicated challenges we face, ”argues Hakim.
Its collective, with roots in Australia and Canada, has 800 registered members spread all over the world . They are especially active on Facebook, where they have a closed group with 5,000 members. One of the most active, a Moroccan named Said , resides in Barcelona. “I have not celebrated the party for ten years and I try to make my Muslim friends aware that they won't do it either. We have to stop using Islam to justify these barbarities against these animals, ”says Said.
According to Islamic precepts, the animal must be blindfolded at the time it is slaughtered while pronouncing the name of God. The meat must be distributed among the family, the neighbors and the needy. The frenzy of Eid has been transfigured in a matter of state. In Egypt, Dar al Ifta - an official body responsible for dispatching fetuses, religious edicts - has established that making the sacrifice on the streets is a "sinful" act in Islam. The authorities have set fines of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (about 270 euros) for those who violate the resolution of the ulema.
In societies such as the Egyptian - ravaged by rising poverty - meat intake is synonymous with wealth and good life. A feast that the most humble stomachs reserve for the Eid table. In the meantime carnivorous, the vegetarian movement - the most critical of the practices of mass and public sacrifice - is still an anecdote, also subject to the restrictions of the exercise of public liberties.
In other Muslim countries, such as in Tunisia, activists such as Joëlle Najar , of the Alvia La Voix des Animaux association, stroll these days through the farms rescuing the lambs and uploading photos to their social networks trying to set an example. Another association born in Tunisia, ACASA (Association for a charitable alternative to animal slaughter), began a few years ago with a campaign for families to donate the money they spend during the holiday. Under the # A house for Eid , they indicate to their followers that the money raised will go to house families living in the street.
In another country of the Maghreb, in Morocco, more than seven million lambs are slaughtered for the big feast of the year, which lasts a week in the kingdom of Mohamed VI. There, the movement against Eid is quieter than in other Muslim countries. But in the north, in cities like Tangier, a group of young girls have lined up this year to campaign on the networks and among their people against what they consider an unnecessary killing. "It is a habit too entrenched, but see how they slaughter the lambs when they are still alive and then have to step on those rivers of blood that form in the streets for a week ... should not be so," criticizes the young Oumaima , law student in Tangier.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for its acronym in English), the largest animal organization in the world, has for years censored the sadism of the celebration at the stroke of controversial campaigns. «Compassion should not be considered controversial. If you search on the internet, you will see many Muslims participating in vegan celebrations of Eid. We have documented that animals are kicked; murdered cruelly in Egypt; or have suffered a slow death, facing each other, in Yemen. More and more Muslims reject this violence, ”says Jason Baker , vice president of international PETA campaigns.
«For the past 20 years, I have seen how the vegan movement has broken barriers. Last week I was in Dubai and found oat milk for coffee. There are groups working in the Middle East on issues such as castration or spaying, awareness raising or investigations that denounce animal cruelty in tourist areas such as Petra or Giza, ”concludes Baker.
THE PARTY IN SPAIN
According to the Demographic Study of the Muslim Population 2019, prepared by the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE) and the Andalusí Observatory, the Muslim population in our country is close to two million ( 1,993,675 ). Entire families have been waiting for the beginning of the Feast of Sacrifice for weeks.
In Ceuta and Melilla (since 2010 the event is officially commemorated), local governments always enable specific areas for Muslims to kill the lambs. This year, the controversy has arisen in the autonomous cities after the Ministry of Agriculture has not allowed the entry of lambs from Morocco due to foot-and-mouth disease (highly contagious for animals) that have occurred in many areas of North Africa . This has pissed off many families who have had to invest more money and buy in livestock farms in Murcia, Huelva or Seville.
On the Peninsula, families often make the sacrifices of these animals in their homes or in large houses on the outskirts of the cities, the bathtub being the favorite place for killing. In Algeciras, two months ago, the Renaissance and European Union Party (Prune) , the first Muslim party in Spain, asked the City Council to use the bullring of Las Palomas for the celebration. «We presented a letter and they have not responded. I do not get it. It is better that they give us a space for people to kill the lambs in their homes or in the countryside, ”says Dris Mohamed , the party representative in Algeciras.
Dris acknowledges that they have had some encounter with PACMA animalists because of their position against the celebration of the holiday. A year ago, PACMA presented a harsh report against Eid: “The legislation requires that the slaughter of the animal by the halal rite - without prior stunning - be carried out in a slaughterhouse. But the animal is fully aware during this process; in fact, some studies reveal that the onset of loss of consciousness during slaughter without stunning in sheep could appear 72 seconds after slaughter, not reaching a state of deep unconsciousness until 220 seconds.
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