Kurban Bayram conundrum in Turkey: To slaughter or not to slaughter? - Türkiye'de Kurban Bayramı bilmecesi: kesmek mi, kesmemek mi?

11/17/2010 13:23:56

The annualpracticeof putting millions of sheep and tocattlethe knifein the name ofhonoring God is once againpromptingdebate in Turkey as the Kurban Bayram holiday begins Tuesday.

Critics of theritualsacrificeinvolved in the holiday, which is celebrated throughout the Muslim world, say the practice isoutdatedandfostersviolence; theycall forit to bereformed- or eliminated altogether.

Kurban Bayram conundrum in

The age-old tradition, known as Eid al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) in Arabic, has becomecontroversialin Turkey asconservativeimmigrantsfromruralAnatolia havemigratedto Istanbul and other large cities, where it is neither easy nor welcome toslaughteran animal on the street. Doing so creates "disturbingscenes' according to some urban Turks and Turkish media outlets that have been complaining aboutencounteringanimals, and their bloodyremains, in unexpected parts of the city.

Staunchly secular columnistBekir Coşkunstir upthe debate recently with a piece in daily Cumhuriyet in which hedenouncedthe "culture of slaughter' he claimed the animal sacrificesinstillin people's minds,implyinga link between the traditional celebration of the holiday andviolentcrime in Turkish society. Conservativecommentatorsreactedto the column, accusing Coşkun of disrespectingsacredvalues andpointing outthat violenceexistsin all societies, saying Coşkun only put theblameon an Islamic ritualdue tohis ownbias.

Thoughthe 4,000-year-old storybehindthe Feast of the Sacrifice iscommonto all believers in "Abrahamic' religions - Jews, Christians and Muslims - in the modern world, onlyadherentsto Islamcommemorateit in aliteralway. As the story is told in both the Bible and the Quran, God tested Abraham'sfaithby telling him to sacrifice hisbelovedson to his Lord. Abraham obeyed the order, but at the last moment, God showed hismercybymiraculouslysending a lamb to be the victim of the sacrificeinstead.

During the holiday celebrating this miracle, every adult Muslim who canaffordit is expected to either sacrifice an animal or - more commonly these days - have it done by abutcher. The meat is thendivviedup, some of it kept to be consumed at home, and the restdistributedto neighbors, especially the less fortunate.

The reform agenda

As even some religious conservatives have come to find the practice disturbing, more modern solutions have recently been developed so Muslims canfulfillthe duty of sacrifice withoutwitnessingthebloodshed. Municipalities andvariouscharity organizations collect money - generally a few hundred Turkish Liras - from believers in return for a package of meat delivered from a modernslaughterhouse. Other groups sacrifice the animals in foreign lands, to distribute all of the meat instarvingregions of Africa or Asia.

In addition to this type of modernizing "reform,' some Islamicscholarsargue for a much more radical change:abandoningthe practice all together. İhsan Eliaçık, a popular theologian known for hisreinterpretationof the Quran, has argued that the religious text does not actually say ritual slaughter is a duty for all Muslims. "When we look at the Quranic verses on animal slaughter, we see that all of them are related topilgrimage,' he said. In earlier times, he explained, Arabs used the kaabah in Mecca - now the most sacred site in Islam - as a paganpantheon and slaughtered animals there during pilgrimages to honor their idols. Islam called for the kaabah, the pilgrimage and the slaughter ritual to bereservedexclusivelyfor Allah, the one and only God.

"But later scholars thought that not just the pilgrims but all Muslims should do a sacrifice during the time of pilgrimage,' Eliaçık said. "This is a laterinterpretationthat we can question and change.'

Among the reforms Eliaçık supports is using electroshock tostunthe animals intounconsciousnessbefore they are slaughtered in order to reduce the amount of pain they experience. More conservative Muslims, along with Orthodox Jews - who use similar traditional slaughtering practices, known as "Shechita,' to obtain kosher meat - have rejected this pre-stunning, arguing that it will make the animals ritually unclean.

A shamanic tradition?

"Among Muslim countries, Turkey has the highestobservanceof the slaughter ritual,' Eliaçık said, adding that he believes this is connected to the shamanic faith and practices of pre-Islamic Turks who also carried out ritual killings of animals. He compared this to the commonaversionto pork, which he said was also shunned as unclean by the ancient Turks. "Of course pork is banned by the Quran, but many Turksindulgein other things banned by the Quran, such as wine, while never ever touching pork,' he said.

ultimately, Eliaçık suggested, the Feast of the Sacrifice should be abandoned and turned into a "Feast ofSolidarity,' in which charity for the needy is provided in ways other than through meat distribution. Another popular Islamic thinker, Hüseyin Hatemi, thinkssimilarly. "In the prophet's time, animals were slaughtered for the hungry pilgrims who traveled for days to reach the kaabah,' he said. "Today, we Muslims really don't need this 'meat festival.''

Such reformist views are popular with the media and seemappealingto the more modernized part of Turkish society. Yet millions of others see the Feast of the Sacrifice as a part of Islam that should never be abandoned, and dismiss the critics who see the practice as brutal. As a post on one Islamic website argued, "Unless one is a vegetarian, then, as a meat-eater, he has no right toobjectto the Feast of the Sacrifice.'


2 kişi tarafından oylandı. Ortalama: 3,00


0 Yorum
Yorum Yaz Soru Sor

Konu hakkındaki yorumunuz