Muslims in the Russian capital Moscow have been denied the right to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Adhu (Feast of the Sacrifice) Islamic holiday after local authorities banned them from carrying out the traditional slaughter ritual.
Muslims typically celebrate the occassion by slaughtering a lamb, a cow or a camel and distributing its meat to relatives, neighbors and the poor.
However, a spokesman for the city’s inter-regional cooperation, national policy and religious organizations department, told Interfax on Wednesday that the sale and slaughter of sacrificial animals will be banned in Moscow during the holiday.
Muslims will be allowed to fulfil the regilious rite in villages outside of the main city, he added.
A recent influx of migrant workers in Moscow from mainly Muslim parts of Russia, such as the northern Caucasus and central Asia, have brought to light new issues in the city, amid increasing tensions between migrants and the city’s Slavic community.
Currently, there are only four official mosques in Moscow, which is insufficient to cope with the increase of Muslims arriving in the city.
Muslims in Moscow in recent years have had to resort to praying their Eid prayers in public squares with prior permission from the local authorities.
In total, around 23 million Muslims live in Russia, making it the country’s second largest religion with 15% of the overall population of 145 million.
Sacrifice Ban in Netherlands
With `Eid Al-Adha coinciding with World Animal Day on October 4th, Dutch Muslims have been facing fierce political and media campaigns against udhiyah slaughter this year demanding them to sacrifice money instead.
“Their remarks are ridiculous,” Ibrahim Wijbenga, president of the Jewish-Islamic Platform of the Netherlands, told a news agency’s website.
“I have been at various slaughter houses and have checked their procedures myself. If the volume which needs to be processed is too high, they will use more than one day. Quality and animal wellbeing is consistently as it should be.”
As the `Eid knocks the doors, campaigns against Dutch Muslims’ udhiyah have been increasing, with the media taking every chance to make negative comments on the religious ritual.
The fact that this year’s `Eid Al-Adha celebration coincides with World Animal Day has led to intensifying campaigns urging Dutch Muslims not to slaughter an animal as sacrifice.
These campaigns have been led by the ‘Party for the Animals’, a one-issue political party in the Netherlands promoting animal rights.
Singling out Muslims, the party leaders have voiced worries on the way animals would be slaughtered around `Eid Al-Adha, the campaigns rejected by Muslims.
“This political party has tried in the past to introduce a law to ban ritual slaughter in this country for both Jews and Muslims completely, but failed to get the law accepted and applied. They are frustrated over this and now only use `Eid Al-Adha as a means to get back at us,” Wijbenga told a news agency’s website.
“This is childish and weak.”
`Eid Al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice”, marks the end of the Hajj season and is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares with six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha celebrations.
Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands’s 16 million population, mostly from Turkish and Moroccan origin.