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Saudi Ministry Reprimands Journalist Who Claimed Animal Slaughter During Hajj Isn’t Religious Obligation

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Mary Turner/Getty
ALI WAKED

TEL AVIV — Saudi Arabia’s Information Ministry has reprimanded a Saudi journalist for writing that the slaughter of animals during the Muslim holiday of Eid ad-Adha is not an obligation under Islamic law.

A spokesman for the ministry, Hani al-Gufeili, said that due to the discussion that developed on social media in response to the journalist’s article, “The man was invited to our offices where it was explained to him that he won’t interfere in religious rulings and that he will leave the subject to experts on the issue.”

The journalist also wrote that there is no proof that it’s required to sacrifice animals every year. According to the Information Ministry Spokesman, the journalist was told that religious rulings are made by members of the Supreme Council of Religious Jurists or those authorized by the council.

Meanwhile, an international human rights organization released a special statement on Monday criticizing what they called the inhumane methods of slaughtering animals in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The organization claimed that the slaughtering was carried out without any official oversight from the Saudi government.

It should be noted that the slaughtering is part of the ritual of the pilgrimage and, according to Saudi authorities, some 1,330,000 animals are sacrificed during the Hajj, mostly sheep.

According to the organization’s statement, which was joined by a video from the first day of Eid al-Adha (September 1), the slaughter of sheep took place while the sheep stood on their legs in a manner contrary to Islamic religious law or, according to the organization, “in a non-cultural and inhumane way.”

The organization noted, “The need to sacrifice the animals during the Hajj season and the large number of pilgrims doesn’t justify the neglect, the disregard, and the disrespect for humane and even the religious norms during the sacrifice.”

The organization warned that the desire to make quick financial gains at the expense of the religious and humane norms during the slaughter demands increased government inspection. The organization called for an international investigation into the issue. The organization also called on human rights organizations to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to reform the practice.

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