Fla. City Commissioner Blocks Muslim Sacrifice Ceremony

Thursday, 03 Nov 2011 02:21 PM

By Andra Varin

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A city commissioner in Sunrise, Fla., says she intervened to stop a Muslim ceremony involving the sacrifice of goats and lambs in order to “protect innocent animals.”

Commissioner Sheila Alu told the South Florida Sun Sentinel she didn’t consider the slaughter of animals appropriate in any kind of urban area.

"Yes, I was trying to stop it," Alu said on Wednesday. "It's shut down. I'm trying to protect innocent animals. This is not an appropriate setting for the slaughtering of animals in an open field in a city that's as populated as Sunrise. Usually these religious ceremonies take place in a rural area."

Muslims from area mosques had planned to gather at a 45-acre farm on Hiatus Road in Sunrise to celebrate the Eid ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice.

The holiday marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It also commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son before God told him to kill a lamb instead.

Alu said she contacted the owners of the farm to find out whether they were aware of what the Muslim ceremony entailed. She says they didn’t, and that they said their caretaker had improperly given permission for the ceremony.

Nezar Hamze, executive director of the South Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Sun-Sentinel the situation was “very upsetting.”

“We'll find another venue. But that's very disturbing. I'm very disappointed in that. We asked for permission and went through the proper channels and now it's off because a commissioner has a problem with it,” he said.

Alu said she was acting as a private resident when she intervened.

"I have no ill will toward the Muslim faith," she said. "I'm just an animal lover."

Hamze said Sunday’s ceremony would take place at another, undisclosed location.



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