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Status: 09/08/2016 5:48 p.m. | archive

Plea for a meat-free festival of sacrifice

From September 12th, millions of Muslims worldwide will celebrate their highest festival - the Festival of Sacrifice. Many of them will then have sheep slaughtered by a Muslim butcher and give away and donate a large part of the meat. But is it really a religious duty to sacrifice an animal? No, says our guest author Hilal Sezgin.

A comment by Hilal Sezgin

Every year people ask me the crucial question: How do you feel about the festival of sacrifice? What do you think of Islamic chasing? I who look after a private sanctuary where sheep big and small live and graze with their families and grow old in peace - inshallah. These fellow men usually have little interest in sheep or the fate of other potential victims; pigs, turkeys, calves and fish also eat them without batting an eyelid. But that we Muslims traditionally kill an animal for the festival of sacrifice, even butcher it without anesthetics - they find that barbaric. Then her moral instinct awakens, which has been lulled by the scent of seared animal body parts all through the barbecue summer and is bribed with bear sausage even with children.

Anesthesia is not a gentle thing

about the author

Hilal Sezgin, Writer, journalist, philosopher and committed animal rights activist, lives with a flock of sheep and other animals on a farm in the Lüneburg Heath. Her topics include animal ethics and animal rights, Islam and feminism. Sezgin is a member of the jury of the NDR Kultur Sachbuchpreis.

  • The book was recently published: "Doing nothing is not a solution. Political responsibility in times of upheaval" (DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne 2017, 160 pages, 14 euros)

The problem, I believe, is that most people have a somewhat idealized idea of ​​the kind of stunning that is practiced in the regular slaughterhouse. For animals, stunning means that they struggle for air in the carbon dioxide chamber, that they are pulled through an electric bath while hanging by their feet, that someone smashes their skulls with a bolt. Anesthesia is not a gentle thing. The anesthesia prescribed by our Animal Welfare Act is in any case physical violence, mostly extremely painful violence, which is also preceded by extreme fear.

Just like the shafts. The question of which battles is worse or less bad is like whether waterboarding is worse than thumbscrews. In any case, after the slaughter the animals are dead. Their lives end violently, they are deprived of the possibility of earthly life.

Other times - other options

According to the Koran, however, they live on, have an immortal soul, and are gathered before their Lord on the last day. The Koran also says that birds and other animals are communities like us humans. Once God reprimanded Mohammed for venting his anger on an anthill. However, the Koran allows animals to be eaten. How does that fit together?

The Muslim Festival of Sacrifice

For many Muslims, the festival of sacrifice, which lasts several days, is the highest religious festival. The celebrations begin this year on September 12th, at the same time as the most important day of the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj. The festival of sacrifice ultimately goes back to a tradition in the Old Testament. The prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was tested by God. He should sacrifice his son to prove his faith. But God was merciful, the prophet sacrificed a sheep instead. In remembrance of this, Muslims celebrate the festival of sacrifice. Further information on the website of the German Islam Conference.

Each revelation is addressed to the people of a certain time and calls them to do what is possible for them. Mohammed ordered his followers to kill the animals with a single quick cut. He forbade them to use fingernails or blades of grass in slaughter; you can see what people tried. That was a time before you could buy sharp knives in every supermarket. And a part of the world where animals were the best food that humans had - and could sacrifice.

The spirit that speaks from the Koran as well as from several hadiths is clear: Be mild to animals, as mild as you can! For us today, in my opinion, this means: Don't sacrifice them. Don't eat them. Don't kill them. No matter how.

The broadcast to listen to

Halal or Haram?

Sacrificing animals is a tradition in most religions. Our guest author Hilal Sezgin speaks out in her comment for a meat-free festival of sacrifice. 3 min

Friday forum

Reports from the everyday life of Muslims, reports on internal Muslim debates and contributions by guest authors on current topics: the Friday Forum offers all of this. more

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NDR culture | Friday Forum | 09/09/2016 | 3:20 pm