In common with Moslem communities throughout the world, the people of Bangladesh have been celebrating the major religious festival of Eid Ul Azha.
In common with Moslem communities throughout the world, the people of Bangladesh have been celebrating the major religious festival of Eid Ul Azha. A feature of its many rituals is the massive slaughter of animals, an ancient tradition that has recently sparked much controversy.
SYNOPSIS: According to government figures, almost one point two million head of cattle were sacrificed in Bangladesh this year on this holy day. Officials say this puts Bangladesh just behind Saudi Arabia in the number of beasts ritually slaughtered -- and clearly shows the people's deepening faith in Islam. Economists, however, take the more pragmatic view that the annual sacrifice is a needless drain on the resources of a country which is among the poorest in the world, and already short of cattle for agricultural needs. Bangladesh needs billion dollars in overseas aid each year just to keep going.
Bangladeshi President Ziaur Rahman and the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, took part in the celebrations in Dacca on Sunday (12 November). The government says it cannot stop the sacrifices because this would offend the religious feelings of ninety percent of Bangladesh's population--as well as other Moslem countries.
Observers in Dacca say Bangladesh is discarding its socialist leanings and moving towards a more rigorously Moslem way of life. The constitution may be amended soon to bring a firm Islamic bias to the statutes book.