Liberal Grace

Monday, December 18, 2006

On-Line Animal Sacrifice

Ancient ritual of animal sacrifice goes Internet. This region never ceases to surprise me!

I opened my local paper this morning to find this headline:

Online animal sacrifice for Eid catching up

Lahore: First it was banking, marriage matches and Eid cards, and now devout Muslims can also get the animal of their choice sacrificed online for festivities like Eid Al Adha.

Many local and international are offering traditional sacrificial animals - goat, sheep, camel and cow - for sacrifice and billing it through credit card.

Under the system, customers can either donate the animal directly to the poor or take home the meat from the trust office.

The system is also fast catching up with the people.
Gulf News Article

I Googled "Qurban" and found that a number of people are offering on-line sacrificial services. It's not on-line in the sense of "First Person Shooter" but a way to pay for it, with the option of the sacrifice being done elsewhere and given to the poor. I imagine this is quite handy for Muslims living in countries where slaughtering a goat in your driveway would tick off others in the condo association.

This sacrifice is part of "Eid ul-Adha" an important part Muslim religion and culture. In Pakistan, I heard foreigners complain about this more than any other holiday or ritual. Prior to the holiday, the streets fill up with goats. In a city of like Karachi of 14 million people, this can be several million goats all slaughtered at once. The blood literally flows in the streets and the intestines and stomach are left in the street to bake in the sun until they are retrieved.

Actually, the holiday didn't bother me and my wife that much. It helped that we were invited by friends to join in the ritual during our first year over here. Once you get over the actual slaughter, it's a very primal and meaningful ritual. As a Christian, it better helped me understand the connection between death blood and redemption, which is so central to our faith.

As for this trend of doing on-line sacrifice, I'm not sure it's a good development. If one can meet their obligations with a few clicks of a mouse and avoid bloody hands, I have to wonder if the power of the ritual is lost. A ding on your credit card is not the same as slaughter on your own driveway.

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