Day of Sacrifice

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.



  1. Yum, lamb!Interesting post, JF. Although controversial, you may be on to something. I would like to point out that there is more to this analogy, however.As Muslims delight in sacramental blood today, it is easy for the West to be horrified. It is also easy to see analogies with the gruesome ways Muslim terrorists find to kill infidels.But even as the ‘Id al-adha animals are slaughtered, millions more animals are being killed in <>our<> abbatoirs to satisfy our hunger for meat, meat, meat (cheap, cheap, cheap). But for us, this slaughter of factory-farmed creatures is utterly sanitised: we don’t see it, we just eat it.Kind of reminds me of a cruise missile, or laser-guided bomb shown on CNN. The carnage is sanitised; it all <>seems<> humane. Either way, people die, and at last count, the amount of people no longer on this earth because of our bombs is pretty high. Not that we are keeping score.Now, don’t bash me for making moral equivalences between a USAF or RAF pilot and Zarqawi. I’m just saying that dead equals dead. Our way seems more humane, but that’s little consolation to those we’ve killed (or their families).


  2. Well, I also think it is probably fallacious to point to this religious ritual as evidence of a greater willingness to shed the blood of those who think differently. However, there is still the issue of certain passages in the Koran.


  3. …the existence of prescriptive injunctions to slaughter infidels in the fundamental doctrines of Islam…I have to disagree with this. Certainly there are passages in the Qur’an are injunctions to kill infidels, but it’s hardly a fundamental doctrine, at least to the many Muslims I know. Certainly I don’t know all the billion Muslims in the world, but I don’t fear for my life when I tell anyone I am not Muslim, and I should if a fundamental doctrine of Islam were to slaughter non-Muslims.There are plenty of scriptures in the OT (the conquest of Canaan comes to mind, certain passages even in Psalms) that encourage out-and-out slaughter of infidels. There are Jewish groups who use that justification to use violence to promote their religious ideas. Certainly not very many, but they are there. I’d never call Judaism a violent religion though any more than I’d call Islam a violent religion.I have seen sheep being sacrificed for Eid and it is no different from a sheep that is slaughtered for a wedding. Except that this sheep is special- it commemorates a sacred event. I’ve heard many Muslims say this particular holiday is about giving and humility.


  4. Amira wrote <>There are plenty of scriptures in the OT (the conquest of Canaan comes to mind, certain passages even in Psalms) that encourage out-and-out slaughter of infidels.<>I disagree with this, as noted in the original post. OT descriptions of the event of the Hebrews’ incursion into Canaan and what they did, even though we (Jews and Christians) believe it was commanded by God does not equate to a prescriptive statement on the killing of infidels, which, as you know, are (relatively) numerous in the Qur’an in such doctrinal form (rather than as a description of an event).Stu has < HREF="" REL="nofollow">pointed this out<> in his related post.


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