Cattle slaughtered at alternative Jakarta mosques to protect horses at Asian Games

Riders train ahead of the dressage individual intermediate 1 final in the equestrian event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 22, 2018. (AFP / Arief Bagus)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Cattle slaughtered at alternative Jakarta mosques to protect horses at Asian Games

  • Jakarta has banned the trade and slaughter of livestock in 35 mosques in the area, in anticipation of Eid and the seasonal trade coinciding with the games
  • The rules of the games state that the area within a kilometer radius of the venue should be an equine disease-free zone

JAKARTA: Eid was quiet for Ferry Mardani, a seasonal goat and cattle trader who normally sets up a temporary barn in the front yard of Pulo Asem Grand Mosque in East Jakarta, a week before Eid.
Most years he sells 90 goats and six cows to local Muslims who want to donate their sacrificial animals to the mosque and have them slaughtered there. By the end of the season, he can reap at least 25 million rupiah ($1.7 million) from the trade.
“This year, the mosque didn’t accept sacrificial animals or slaughter them. We are complying with the governor’s instruction to have this area free from any cattle because our location is within a kilometer radius of the equestrian park,” Mardani told Arab News.
The Jakarta International Equestrian Park in the Pulomas district is hosting three equestrian competitions for the 18th Asian Games. The rules of the games state that the area within a kilometer radius of the venue should be an equine disease-free zone.
Last October the then-governor of Jakarta, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, issued an order banning the trade and slaughter of livestock in 35 mosques in the area, in anticipation of Eid and the seasonal trade coinciding with the games, which run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
Ani Suyani, who lives in Pulomas, donated her sacrificial cow to Al Mujahidin Mosque, which is in the Kayu Putih neighborhood near the park.
“The mosque still received donations, they arranged to buy the cattle and have them slaughtered directly in Pulo Gebang abattoir. The mosque’s qurban committee will pack the meat in small bags and take them back here for distribution in the afternoon,” she told Arab News.
Purnomo, a caretaker of Al Hurriyah Mosque in Pulo Asem neighborhood, said the mosque still received donations of animals but they slaughtered the animals – seven goats and a cow — in Al Watsiyah Mosque, outside the restricted zone.
“Usually we receive up to 30 goats every year and we slaughter them here. But this year some congregation members decided to donate their sacrificial animals elsewhere because of the restriction,” Purnomo told Arab News.
“We understand this restriction is to support the Asian Games. It’s no problem that we can’t sell and slaughter the animals here at the mosque this year,” he said.
“The Asian Games is probably a once in a lifetime event for most of us here. I wasn’t even born the last time we had it in Jakarta,” Purnomo said.
The last time Jakarta hosted the games was in 1962.
This year Jakarta is co-host of the games, alongside Palembang, the provincial capital of South Sumatra. This is the first time that the games have been co-hosted.


Migrant caravan blockade: US Army unfurls fencing along border with Mexico

Updated 54 min 59 sec ago
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Migrant caravan blockade: US Army unfurls fencing along border with Mexico

  • Some Laredo residents had voiced disquiet about the fencing and the presence of US troops
  • ‘It reminds me of Hitler and the concentration camps’

LAREDO, United State: They started work in the cool of the morning and moved quickly, uncoiling reel after reel of vicious-looking fencing and tying it with barbed wire to green poles hammered into the ground.
Over the course of three days, a gleaming, shoulders-high barrier of concertina-wire emerged like a silver snake along a lush riverbank, stretching as far as the eye could see.
This was the work of 100 or so American troops from the 19th Engineer Battalion, based in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Rather than finding themselves in a far-off warzone, the soldiers are in Laredo, a busy border town overlooking a stretch of the Rio Grande river in southwest Texas, carrying out controversial orders from President Donald Trump.
He has sent about 5,800 troops to the border to forestall the arrival of large groups of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico and toward the US, in a move critics decry as a costly political stunt to galvanize supporters ahead of midterm elections earlier this month.
Before the election Trump called the matter a “national emergency” and warned that so-called migrant caravans were an “invasion” with “some very bad thugs and gang members.”
So far at least, the most visible aspect of Trump’s deployment is the fence, a visible deterrent and physical obstacle to migrants, designed to corral would-be asylum seekers toward organized points of entry into the US.
Over the weekend, Lt. Alan Koepnick’s platoon could be seen stringing concertina wire, which is built to snag clothing, along one edge of a quiet riverside park near downtown Laredo.
As families walked dogs, grilled sausages and relaxed, the soldiers mounted the wire, occasionally ripping their camouflaged uniforms on its metal barbs.
Koepnick said some Laredo residents had voiced disquiet about the fencing and the presence of US troops.
“But there’s also been a lot of support, people coming in, vets shaking our hands, bringing us cakes, water, things like that,” Koepnick said.
About 100 yards (meters) behind him, a group of people on the Mexican side of the river could be seen standing on the bank.
“You’ll see people across the river cursing at us in Spanish, throwing bottles at us. But on this side it’s more positive,” Koepnick said.
He and his soldiers were unarmed, but a group of armed military police officers stood by to provide “force protection.”
Under US law, the military is not allowed to conduct domestic law enforcement in most cases, so soldiers here will not have any direct interactions with migrants.
Trump created a media whirlwind by sounding the alarm about the migrant caravans before the November 6 elections. He has mainly stopped raising it since, though last week he praised the military’s work.
“They built great fencing, they built a very powerful fence,” said Trump, who wants to build a hardened wall along the entire 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border.
Laura Pole, a British tourist visiting Laredo for the third time, was less enthusiastic.
“It reminds me of Hitler and the concentration camps,” she said, but added: “I really don’t know what’s the best thing to do.”
The border mission has put the supposedly non-political military in an uncomfortable spotlight.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has hit back at critics who say the Pentagon should not be doing Trump’s political bidding, saying “we don’t do stunts.”
He visited troops on the border last week and reiterated that their job in the short term was to assist under-resourced Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and put up physical obstacles.
But “longer term, it’s somewhat to be determined,” he said.
After some rank-and-file troops grumbled about the purpose of the mission to US media last week, they are now under strict instructions not to voice personal opinions to the press.
Several soldiers AFP spoke to said their time on the border provided valuable real-world training, albeit without the risks of combat.
“We have a very large group of brand-new soldiers and it’s really good for them,” Corporal Samuel Fletcher said, citing a chance for the green troops “to do real work and put their skills to use.”
In Laredo, large groups of migrants from the caravans in Mexico had not arrived.
Instead they were mainly headed to Tijuana, about 1,300 miles away in San Diego, where authorities say more than 3,000 have already arrived.
Still, a CBP agent, who was not authorized to give his name, said he was glad of the military assistance as each day, “hundreds” of migrants attempt to cross the approximately 30-mile stretch of border he patrols.
The military deployment is set to wrap up December 15 and it is not clear what will become of the wire fencing.
Already, the winds whistling down the Rio Grande valley are strewing trash, clothing and plastic bags along the jagged wire.
“Nobody seems to know when it’s coming down. It’s not really our decision,” said Koepnick.
“If we are told to take it down, we will take it down with a smile on our faces, like good soldiers.”