Muslims voice strong condemnation over the killing of Lion Cecil

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SHAFAQNA - Joining worldwide condemnations of the killing of a prized African lion Cecil, the Egyptian Fatwa House [Dar al-Iftaa al-Masriyyah], a renowned center for Islamic scholarship, has issued a fatwa denouncing hunting the lion as against teachings of Islam.

“Islam calls on humanity to treat animals and all Allah’s creation with mercy,” a statement posted on the Dar al-Iftaa al-Masriyyah’s Facebook page reads, International Business Times reported on Thursday, July 30.

“Islam punishes those who are unmerciful to Allah’s creation.”

Killed earlier this month by the American dentist, Walter Palmer, Cecil was famous in Zimbabwe where tourists came to Hwange National Park to see him.

The hunted lion established in 2009 his own pride which had up to 22 members.

Identifiable by his black-fringed mane, the popular Zimbabwe lion was tracked by a GPS collar.

Earlier this month, the lion was lured out of the sanctuary by a local organizer and killed with a bolt from a crossbow by Palmer who paid more than $50,000 to track and hunt the lion.

The illegal killing of the animal has sparked international outrage and calls to punish the American dentist.

On Wednesday, July 29, two individuals appeared in court on poaching charges over their alleged roles in the lion’s killing.

A few days later, Zimbabwe has called on the US to extradite the American dentist who shot Cecil.

Palmer “had a well-orchestrated agenda which would tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and further strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and the USA,” said Oppah Muchinguri, the African nation’s environment minister, CNN reported on Friday, July 31.

“This must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all genuine, animal-loving conservationists who believe in sustainable utilization of natural resources.”

“Immediate Action”

Using the hashtag, #Cecil_Hunting_Crime, the fatwa called for taking “immediate action” against the American hunter.

“Islam, the religion of mercy, has called for showing mercy and kindness to animals 14 centuries ago,” the statement reads.

“All the creation of Allah must be respected and venerated.”

For animal conservationists, the killing of Cecil would badly damage their efforts to preserve the species in an African nation that has struggled to curb poaching.

On his part, Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist, described the killing of Cecil “incomprehensible”.

Islam places much importance on animals and on providing for them in a caring manner. There are five Qur’an chapters whose titles are based on the names of animals.

Besides, the mention of animals is found throughout the Quran. In chapter Al-An’am God says:{There is no animal walking on the earth nor a bird flying on its two wings, except that they are (part of) communities like you.} (6: 38)

Islam has strictly prohibited tampering with the lives of animals and inflicting torture upon them just for the sake of fun.

Using an animal as a target for shooting practice with a gun or bow is forbidden. “The Prophet cursed one who kills a living creature as a mere sport (as in hunting)” (Muslim).

 

Sources – Shafaqna and agencies

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