City Hall swoops on Moscow Muslims’ sacrificial rites
by Tom Washington at 24/10/2011 19:00
Moscow’s Muslims will have to move their fast approaching Eid al-Adha sacrifices off the streets after City Hall slapped a ban on roadside ritual slaughter.
The festival falls on Nov. 6 this year and after dramatic scenes of ritual sacrifice last year, which shocked feint-hearted passers by, the Moscow-based followers of Mohammed will have to move the rites into the slaughter-house or out of the city.
A question of numbers
Gulnur Gaziyeva, official representative of the Russian Council of Muftis, told Moskovskiye Novosti that the ban on public animal sacrifice had been prompted by previous unpleasant scenes, “last year there was an incident in the Otradnoye district when a ram was sacrificed right beside the mosque,” she told MN.
Moscow has more and more Muslims coming into the city and local leaders of the Muslim community have called for more Mosques and facilities for the burgeoning numbers as mosque courtyards fail to take the strain.
“We would be glad if they organize more places where we can conduct ritual sacrifices. Just sacrificing rams in courtyards is uncivilized. It shocks lots of people,” Gulya Mukhamedzhanova of the Otradnoye mosque administration told MN.
She added that sacrifices don’t just happen at Eid al-Adha, so the need for sacrificial places continues throughout the year.
Mosques under pressure
Moscow has few Mosques and plans to build a new one for its Muslim population were thwarted last year when local residents demanded that a park at Tekstilshchiki stay a park and not become a Mosque, as planned.
Pressure has been especially acute on the Cathedral Mosque in the center of the city at festival times. Up to 50,000 crowded to the Mosque in August for prayers, causing congestion chaos, Pravda.ru reported. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin had a temporary prayer house set up in Sokolniki Park, expecting 9,000 but the real numbers were a lot lower, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
The powers that be say the ban on outdoor slaughter would be covered by existing legislation and come under cruelty to animals laws.
Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, comes at the end of the Muslim calendar. It commemorates the Koran account of Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmail, until Allah intervened and presented him with a ram to take the boy’s place.