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MOSCOW, October 13 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Muslims will be offered a telephone sacrifice service on October 15 when they will celebrate the Festival of Sacrifice, which is called Kurban Bairam by Russian and Central Asian Muslims.
The service will be organized by the Pure Heart charity foundation on the initiative of a member of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, Rizan Kurbanov, in a bid to save residents of Russia’s non-Muslim cities from the sight of bloody sacrifice.
“Such sacrifice rituals are not very much welcome by people of other religions and cultures,” Pure Heart director Eldar Iraziyev told an Itar-Tass correspondent in Makhachkala. “Kurban Bairam is a blessed holiday for all Muslims and we must share its divine light will all people. The Russian Council of Muftis will help settle issues linked with the transportation of sacrifice animals. It will be possible to order sacrifice by telephone and the meat of sacrificial animals will be delivered to domicile.”
The Pure Heart foundation and lawmaker Rizvan Kurbanov have called on Russian Muslin to refrain from making sacrifices at their courtyards and in the streets and to do it only in specially designated places.
The foundation says it can help ethnic Dagestanis living outside the republic to deliver sacrificial meat to their relatives in Dagestan and to the poor. According to Iraziyev, the foundation has received more than four million roubles, which will be enough to buy about 700 rams to provide meet to 2,800 families. About 500 volunteers will carry out sacrifice rituals all around Dagestan.
The Pure Heart foundation chaired by first vice president of the Russian Wrestling Federation Omar Murtazaliyev, was set up in 2010 to provide humanitarian and charity assistance to veterans of WWII, people with disabilities, low-income families, orphans and the families of law enforcers killed by extremists.
Experts say that in the recent years Kurban Bairam has been celebrated in a more civilized manner both in Dagestan and in other Russian regions. But from time to time there are reports that sacrificial animals are killed in places that are not meant for that. In Moscow, such rituals cause irritation of city dwellers. This year, according to Iraziyev, more than ten places have been allocated for Kurban Bairan sacrifices in Moscow.
The Festival of Sacrifice is a three-day holiday in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's readiness to sacrifice his first born son Ishmael on Allah's orders. The history of Kurban Bairam takes its origin from the biblical story of Patriarch Abraham who wanted to offer his son Isaac to God in sacrifice. The Muslim tradition substitutes the biblical "Isaac" with "Ismail," Abraham's elder son. According to the Muslim beliefs, Isaac is considered to be Abraham's younger son.
Kurban Bairan comes the day after the pilgrims on Hajj, the annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, descend from Mount Arafat. The Festival of Sacrifice is celebrated on the 10th day of Zul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Muslim lunar calendar, in the period of hajj, the sacred journey to Mecca, the home town of Islam's founder Prophet Muhammad.
The celebration of the Festival of Sacrifice begins early. After washing themselves and putting on clean clothes, Muslims have a collective prayer at mosques. They read the Koran and listen to Imams' sermons, which tell them about the origin and the significance of the ritual of oblation.
After the prayer, they perform the ritual of sacrifice. First, a prayer is said over the animal prepared for sacrifice. Next, the sheep is laid on the ground with its head towards Mecca and its owner, or a hired hand, cuts the victim's throat.
Those Muslims who can afford sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually a cow, but can also be a camel, goat, sheep or ram depending on the region). The sacrificed animals have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the other third is given to the poor and needy. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal during these days.