JAFFA, Israel – Egypt’s sectarian tensions came to a temporary halt on Monday when a Christian butcher in the restive Alminia region offered his Muslim neighbors goats and calves free of charge for the holiday of Eid al Adha.
The Egyptian media reported that the butcher, Adel Rasmi, “has taken part in the festivals of his Muslim friends and neighbors from a young age and they, in turn, started calling him ‘the Muslims’ butcher,’ helping them every year ahead of Eid to take care of the sacrificed animals.”
Rasmi said that on the day of the festival, from a very early hour, he visits Muslim houses to slaughter the animals. “I feel especially happy to be trusted by Muslim brothers,” he said. “It shows you how people can love each other, irrespective of their religion.”
Among Rasmi’s clients are Muslim dignitaries, including a local MP.
However, some people in divided Egypt were less enthusiastic, complaining on Twitter that a slaughter that is not carried out by a Muslim, accompanied by the appropriate prayer, is not in keeping with Islamic law.
“I don’t think it’s right because the slaughter must be according to Sharia,” Mona tweeted.
اعتقد انه لا يجوز لان الذبح يجب ان يكون على. الشريعه الاسلاميه
— mony ♏ (@mona_mnz) September 12, 2016
“Did he say the prayer in the name of Allah the merciful and the compassionate and Allahu Akbar or not?” another wrote.
ودا بيسمى عليها الاول ويكبر ولا ايه …
— يارب أرحم أبى ♥ (@Queen_Rohy) September 12, 2016
“If he’s not a Muslim, his slaughter is prohibited,” Najib tweeted. “He must be a pure Muslim who recites the prayers during the slaughter.”
@Yaser_Alawadi اذا هو مش مسلم لايجوز ذبحة ولا يجوز اكل الذبيحة
ضروري يكون مسلم متطهر ويسمي ويكبر علي الضحية عن الذبح
— Najeeb Albatal (@albata2012) September 12, 2016
Over the last few months, the region has witnessed outbursts of Christian-Muslim violence over incidents such as an alleged affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, and the refusal of Muslims to allow their Christian neighbors to build a church.
In May, dozens of Muslims attacked their Christian neighbors and set some of their houses on fire in response to a rumor about the aforementioned affair. The riots culminated when an elderly Christian woman was forcibly removed from her house, stripped, and paraded through the streets of the village. The incident shocked many, and prompted the president to apologize.
In July, Muslim residents clashed with Christians who they believed were secretly building a church inside one of their houses. The house was set ablaze.