SHAFAQNA -Â A Belgian imam has urged Muslims not to observe the ritual slaughter or Udhiyah during this year’s `Eid Al-Adha, in a protest against the government’s decision to ban religious slaughter without stunning.
Muslims should â€œeither send the same sum of money to those who do not have the means to make their religious sacrifice, or spend that money profitably (i.e. finance projects here in Belgium),â€ Khaled Harra, the imam of the Forest Mosque, said in a statement cited by Morocco World News on Saturday, August 29.
The opinion was expressed in protest against the latest decision by the Ministry of Animal Welfare in Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium to ban religious slaughter without stunning.
Affecting both Muslims and Jews, the decision was protested by the Muslim community, demanding their right to slaughter rams during `Eid Al-Adha in the halal method.
The imam deplored the new regulations by the Belgian government as discriminatory.
â€œWe pay our taxes! And for farmers who are in crisis, this represents a significant revenue, right?â€ the imam questioned.
â€œWe feel increasingly stigmatized. Every time, we feel that these laws target Muslims. One can sense a growing Islamophobic climate,” he added.
By not making the sacrifice, the imam hopes to penalize farmers and push the government to react.
Belgian Muslims are estimated at 450,000 â€“ out of a 10-million-population â€“ about half of them are from Moroccan origin, while 120,000 are from Turkish origin.
Udhiyah or animal sacrifice, a ritual that reminds of the great act of sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`eel were willing to make for the sake of God.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha.
The Udhiyah meat should be divided in three equal parts, one each for one’s own family, friends and the poor.
It is permissible that someone in another country could perform the sacrifice on one’s behalf.
According to the Islamic and Jewish ritual, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp blade.
The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allahâ€™s creations, including animals.
Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.