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October 16, 2013

Polish Muslims: Slaughter ban sacrifices tradition

Animal rights activists disrupt Eid al-Adha holiday to protest ritual slaughter.

Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miskiewicz speaks to animals rights activists and reporters outside the mosque in Bohoniki village, eastern Poland, 15 October 2013. EPA/ARTUR RESZKO POLAND OUT

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha is celebrated with animal sacrifices across the world, but in Poland the holiday was marked by renewed debate over a controversial ban on ritual slaughter. 

Animal rights activists disrupted celebrations in the eastern village of Bohoniki, which has a large Muslim Tatar community. Despite the ban, religious leader Tomasz Miśkiewicz said at least one animal was killed in Bohoniki, adding, "We did this symbolically in order to keep the culture of Muslim Tatars lasting". 
Poland, along with several other European countries, requires that all animals be stunned before death. But religious law in Islam and Judaism dictates that animals must be conscious before slaughter to be deemed ritually pure. 
Muslims and Jews in Poland have united to argue that the ban violates religious freedom, but online there was mostly support for the ban.