In a ritual drenched in blood, Muslims celebrate their Day of Sacrifice by slitting the throat of their sacrificial animals and letting them bleed out. The resulting bloodbath is disconcerting to say the least. In some ways, this is like glancing back in time to the sacrifices performed at the temples of old, both pagan and monotheistic. (hat tip: Die Welt on the picture)
It is worth asking, I suppose, whether the continuation of sacrifice by the shedding of blood for religious purposes can or does contribute to a jihad perspective in which the shedding of the blood of infidels is not something that is unthinkable. It seems an easy parallel to draw, but could could just as easily be a fallacious conclusion. In the judeo-christian tradition, the ritual and imagery of the sacrificial lamb in pre-Christian Judaism invoked not bloodlust but humility and anguish. I assume that this ritual in Islam is meant to produce the same result. The difference is the existence of prescriptive injunctions to slaughter infidels in the fundamental doctrines of Islam, which are lacking in the judeo-christian scriptures, if I am not mistaken. It is true that the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) relate a description of bloodshed that Jews and Christians alike largely believe was sanctioned and even directed by their God. But precisely the fact that this episode and others like it are merely descriptive in the Judeo-Christian scriptures differentiates them from passages in the Muslim sacred writ that appear, on an objective reading, to condone or even suggest the killing of “infidels,” or those not of the Muslim faith, as a legitimate course of action. The latter is how the Muslim terrorists justify their acts of bloodshed, at least.