Last Eid with a Dutch-slaughtered sheep?
07 Nov, 2011
RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE - Jacqueline Carver
The Muslim sacrifice festival (Eid al-Adha) started on Sunday and many Dutch Muslims celebrated with a ritually slaughtered sheep. However, it could be the last time Dutch Muslims are able to buy a sheep or lamb that has been ritually slaughtered here in the Netherlands.
The lower house of parliament has already passed a bill banning slaughtering animals without first stunning them and the senate will vote on the bill on 13 December. It is not yet clear whether the senate will pass the bill, which was sponsored by the Animal Rights Party.
If the bill becomes law, it will affect both Muslims and Jews: according to Islamic halal slaughter – as well as Jewish kosher slaughter – animals are not stunned before they are slaughtered. Animal-rights activists claim it causes unnecessary suffering. Muslim and Jewish experts deny this and say evidence presented to the lower house of parliament was biased and misleading. Both the Qur’an and the Torah ban the maltreatment of animals and ritual slaughterers have to undergo intensive training before they are certified. Muslims and Jews say the ban infringes on their religious freedom.
If the bill is passed, it could put several thousand people out of work and will certainly make it more expensive for people to eat halal or kosher meat as it will have to be imported.
Opponents of the bill fear that the practice will just go underground if it is banned. In the 1980’s, many Muslims in the Netherlands slaughtered a sheep at home for the festival and the papers were full of stories about sheep being butchered on balconies.
Some Muslims say they’ll cross the border and get a sheep from either Belgium or Germany if ritual slaughter is banned in the Netherlands. Others say they’ll celebrate Eid ‘back home’ in Morocco or Turkey.
Eid al-Adha is a three-day festival that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to obey God’s command and sacrifice his only son. An angel intervened and a sheep (or goat) was sacrificed instead. Muslims celebrate the festival by sharing a ritually slaughtered sheep or lamb with the family.
Please send any comments and material to help us put together a proposal to present to the Upper Senate.
Contact Dr Majid Khatme or The Muslim Council of Britain.