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Pakistani liberals oppose sacrifice of animals on Eid

Islamabad: With Eid-ul-Azha round the corner, some liberal Pakistanis are again trying to persuade the faithful not to sacrifice an animal during the festival.

“Muslims have a duty both religiously and culturally to evolve with scientific and moral progress. The meaning behind Eid-ul-Azha will always stand, but in on Sunday’s world, we must look at things practically,” wrote Bina Ahmed and Farah Khan on goatmilkblog.com, a virtual hangout for Asian Muslims settled in the West.

They argued that Muslims should take into consideration “the undeniable cruelty involved in killing millions of God’s creations, how environmentally damaging it is to raise animals for food, how unhealthy meat is for human consumption, and the lack of an actual requirement in Islam to eat meat”.

They wrote: “Muslims, especially those of us that live in the Western world, have a duty to end the animal sacrifice of Eid-ul-Azha and replace our good intentions in other ways.”

Last year, an animal activist organisation, which is now almost defunct, had run a campaign asking people to “save” an animal instead of “sacrificing it” after the devastating floods that left over a million animals dead in Pakistan.

“Buy a goat – and this year, instead of sacrificing it, send it back to a village to replace what was lost and help people back onto their feet. Goats can provide an ongoing income for families through the sale of milk, ghee, meat and kids, as well as supplement their own diet and agriculture,” was the appeal from the Karachi-based organisation.

“When it comes to Qurbani they turn into staunch followers of Islam, and when it comes to selling cats, they forget the teachings of Islam for their own financial gains, what hypocrites these people are!” read a comment on an animal rights’ group’s page on Facebook.

Two years ago, pakistaniat.com too encouraged the faithful to celebrate the spirit of Islam and spare the animals.

“The purpose of sacrifice is to understand the spirit of parting with what you hold dear (your wealth), it is not some muqabla (competition) against four-legged animals,” read the post on the now defunct website.

The voices of dissent far outnumbered the voices of reason.

“Problem with us is that we are stuck between Mullah and enlightened moderates (who every now and then would propose innovations in religion based only on their instincts regardless of their knowledge),” posted Usman Ghani on the website.

President Asif Ali Zardari is believed to have sacrificed hundreds of black goats to ward off the “evil eye” after he moved into the presidency in 2008.

A black goat is slaughtered almost daily to ward off the “evil eye” and protect Zardari from “black magic”, the local media has reported.

The President also reportedly uses only camel and goat milk due to superstitions, the reports said.(PTI)

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