Cairo looks to curb street sheep slaughter for Eid holiday

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An Egyptian trader leads a sheep to the car of a client in Cairo on August 16, 2018, ahead of the annual Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday when custom requires the faithful to make a sacrifice. (AFP)
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An Egyptian vendor holds a camel at the Berqash camel market northeast of Cairo, on August 17, 2018. Known as the "big" festival, Eid Al-Adha is celebrated each year by Muslims sacrificing animals according to religious traditions. (AFP)
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An Egyptian vendor plays with a goat as he waits for customers at a market in Cairo on August 16, 2018, ahead of the annual Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday when custom requires the faithful to make a sacrifice. (AFP)
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An Egyptian boy holds a camel at the Berqash camel market northeast of Cairo, on August 17, 2018. (AFP)
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An Egyptian vendor holds his camels as people gather at the Berqash camel market northeast of Cairo, on August 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 August 2018
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Cairo looks to curb street sheep slaughter for Eid holiday

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recommends strict guidelines for the slaughter of animals
  • Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic religious authorities, which rule on sharia law, have also come out against the practice

CAIRO: Faced with scenes of blood flowing in rubbish-strewn roads and of streets littered with animal entrails, authorities in the Egyptian capital say they aim to crack down on the outdoor slaughter that marks one of Islam’s main holidays.
Eid Al-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, is marked by Muslims sacrificing animals according to religious traditions at the end of the Hajj annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina.
Ahead of the holiday, which this year starts on Tuesday, temporary sheep markets have sprung up amid the exhaust fumes and garbage heaps of the sprawling metropolis.
But the governor’s office in Cairo insists it is on a “cleanliness” drive to stop the widespread slaughter of animals in the distinctly unhygienic surroundings of the city’s streets.
To prevent the “barbaric and unacceptable” spectacle, officials in each neighborhood have been ordered to “strictly” enforce laws prohibiting the practice, city spokesman Khaled Mostafa told AFP.
Offenders risk a fine of at least 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($280, 250 euros), a hefty sum that exceeds the average monthly wage in the country.

In the crowded Sayeda Zainab neighborhood near central Cairo, local merchants keep the sheep up for sale for the feast down muddy alleyways.
Traders like Hussein Abul Al-Aziz say they welcome the push to eliminate the killings in the streets and claim they don’t engage in the practice.
“It is unacceptable to slaughter in the street, it must be done in an abattoir with a veterinarian who examines the animal and under the supervision of the health ministry,” Aziz said, standing among his well-fed beasts.
But it clear that the message from the authorities has not reached most people.
Local resident Ahmed Ragab shops around for a sheep for Eid Al-Adha.
The father in his fifties confides that he has not heard of the official sanitation drive and was planning to slaughter his animal in the street outside his house.
“But it is true that it’s dirty and dangerous,” he concedes.

It is not just Cairo officials who are seeking to dissuade people from street sacrifices.
Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic religious authorities, which rule on sharia law, have also come out against the practice.
The Dar Al-Ifta institution published a speech this month condemning street sacrifices as a “great sin and serious crime.”
A potential cause of diseases and epidemics, leaving behind the remains of the animal is also considered “impure” by the Qur'an holy book, the government body said on its website.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recommends strict guidelines for the slaughter of animals.
It says abattoirs should be “situated away from residential areas” and calls for “a well-planned, well-executed and controlled cleaning and sanitation program.”
However, the aspirations of the authorities and advice of experts seem at odds with the reality in the marketplace.
On the outskirts of Cairo, makeshift pens hold sheep close to an open sewerage drain.
Local butchers complain of financial woes they face as the cost of living soars in Egypt.
Most did not want to answer questions but it was clear they would meet customers’ demands — including butchering animals in the streets — to make ends meet.
“We’ll do anything,” one told AFP.


Man detained in Lebanon on suspicion of entering from Israel

Updated 17 January 2019
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Man detained in Lebanon on suspicion of entering from Israel

  • State-run National News Agency said the man who was detained is a US citizen adding that he was detained in the southern port-city of Tyre
  • Suspicion about someone crossing the tightly guarded border known as the Blue Line began to surface on Tuesday

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s army intelligence have detained a man on suspicion that he crossed into Lebanon from Israel, a military official said Thursday. The country’s state news agency said the detainee is a US citizen.
Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and each bans its citizens from visiting the other country. There are no border crossings at the tightly-controlled frontier.
The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, gave no further details saying the man is being questioned and once they have information the army will release a statement.
State-run National News Agency said the man who was detained is a US citizen adding that he was detained in the southern port-city of Tyre where he had been staying since Tuesday. It added that the man is being questioned under the supervision of judicial authorities.
There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Lebanon.
Suspicion about someone crossing the tightly guarded border known as the Blue Line began to surface on Tuesday.
The Israeli military said: “Israeli army troops identified a break in the fence and signs that point to the suspicion of a person crossing the border from Israel into Lebanon. The incident is under investigation.”