Moscow Bans Muslims’ Udhiyah

MOSCOW – Muscovite Muslims will be denied the right to slaughter their udhiyah this `Eid Al-Adha after the city’s national policy and religious organizations department announced a ban on the religious ritual in Moscow.

« Moscow authorities help Muslims religious organizations each year to organize festive services, providing security, maintenance, medical assistance and broadcasts, » spokesman for the city’s inter-regional cooperation, national policy and religious organizations department, told Interfax on Wednesday, October 1.

Announcing prayers at Moscow mosque at 7 a.m. on October 4, the official warned Muscovite Muslims and visitors that the sale and slaughter of sacrificial animals will be banned in Moscow.

He added that sacrificial sheep will be slaughtered only on farms and in slaughter houses in individual villages of the Moscow Region.

The issue of the Udhiyah came to surface recently after the influx of migrant workers from Central Asian states.

According to Moscow police, about 150,000 Muslims took part in festivities dedicated to `Eid Al-Fitr holiday in August this year.

The objections to the Muslim rituals appeared when some of the city Muslim population started to slaughter sheep for the holiday close to their apartment blocks or at home.

In 2010, the city authorities replied to the complaints filed in by activists and banned the sacrifice within the city limits.

The new regulations offered Muslims either to order meat from animals that would be sacrificed outside the city in accordance with Muslim rules, or performing the rituals themselves, also at the out-of-city site.

Fresh debated erupted in January 2013 when the Russian Ministry of Justice proposed a set of amendments to the Freedom of Conscience Law that would make illegal any unsanctioned prayer services and rites held outside religious sites or cemeteries.

Currently, worshipers are allowed to hold religious ceremonies in public places if they inform the local administration in advance about the planned gathering.

The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.

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.




Fatima Achouri

Sociologue spécialiste de l’islam contemporain.

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