Maldives’ celebrates Eid with record number of goats sacrificed

This year’s Eid celebrations in the Maldives saw the holiday’s traditional prayers and feasting accompanied by a record number of goats slaughtered in the capital Malé.

The Islamic Foundation of Maldives (IFM) arranged for the importing and slaughter of over 175 goats on Thursday, a record number for a country in which this large-scale practice was uncommon just a few years ago.

Signs appeared around the capital in the days leading up to the holiday advertising the ‘uluhiya’, or slaughter – a word previously unfamiliar in the Dhivehi lexicon – providing a telephone number for anyone who wanted to join in the festivities.

A representative of the IFM explained that the organisation had surpassed its previous efforts this year after its founding in 2009.

“In 2010, we only had 20 goats. In 2011, we slaughtered 80 goats and two cows,” he explained.

“Next Eid we will slaughter a camel – this will be good for the public as it will be the first time this has been done.”

Combined with the activities of other Islamic organisations in the country – most notably the Jamiyyathul Salaf – the number of animals sacrificed came to well over 200.

Traditional practice dictates that the animals be slaughtered by having their throats cut, before the body is drained of blood. After this, the animal is cut up with some meat divided amongst friends and family and some distributed to the poor and needy.

The foundation member explained that, owing to the relative affluence of the Maldives , it was difficult to determine needy individuals and so the meat was distributed to whoever was in attendance.

Local media reported that some meat was being sold for MVR 400 a piece (US$25), but the IFM member said he did not know about this, saying: “Selling [the meat] is not encouraged.”

He explained that, due to the practice being uncommon to the Maldives, Bangladeshis were employed to do the butchery after the animal was killed, although locals were given the opportunity to cut the animal’s throat themselves if they had paid for the animal first.

Goats are often kept in the Maldives’ smaller islands but are an unusual sight in the capital. They are often sacrificed in naming ceremonies.

“People who bought the animals were given the opportunity to slaughter them,” he said, explaining that the animals cost around MVR 3500-4000 (US$227 – US$260) each to purchase in Male, more than double their cost prior to shipping from India.

“When sacrificing, the condition is to kill it at once without damaging or hurting in any other way,” he said, adding that the animals were prevented from seeing the others being slaughtered and that they were adequately fed and watered before the sacrifice.

“I find it hard to watch,” he added, “but others come and watch it for entertainment.”

The animals were brought into the country three days prior to the sacrifice, being kept near to the petrol shed on the south of the island before being sacrificed on an adjacent plot of land.

The foundation member said that three goats had given birth after being brought to the country, making them unsuitable for sacrifice.

Those animals that were not bought and slaughtered by individuals were sacrificed on behalf of the foundation. The IFM then arranged for a large feast at the nearby Maafanu Madrassa for which 2,000 people were expected. Inclement weather on the day was blamed for the smaller attendance – estimated at around 1,200.

The act of sacrifice and the giving away of the meat – practiced throughout the Muslim world – is intended to symbolise the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to show his obedience to Allah.

The IFM was founded with the stated aim of raising Islamic awareness and organising social activities within the Islamic framework in order to “ensure the religious and social development of each and every individual of Maldivian society,” according to its website.

The Maldives has embraced Islam with increasing fervour in recent years. The 2008 constitution saw the practice of Sunni Islam become mandatory for Maldivian citizens as well the establishment of a state ministry to handle Islamic affairs.


Four Maldivians questioned for allegedly committing bestiality with a goat

Police have questioned four men from the island of Makunudhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll following allegations the men had sex with a goat.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed police had questioned the men, but said no arrests had been made.

President of Makunudhoo Island Council Mohamed Rilwan said that all four of the men were aged between 19 and 21.

Two of the men were from Makunudhoo while the other two were originally from the neighboring island of Neykurendhu, he said.

‘’Lately the owner of the goat had been suspicious that something was wrong because he was finding things such as condoms on his farm where he keeps 50 goats,’’ said Rilwan.

‘’Early one morning when he went to the farm he saw two goats outside the fence and thought it was odd because there was no way a goat could have climbed over the fence.”

Rilwan said the owner then counted the goats and realised one goat was missing, and started searching for it.

‘’He found the goat near the beach, it was laid down on a cardboard paper. He observed that it could not walk properly and that its sexual organs were injured,’’ he said. ‘’He then reported the matter to the concerned authorities.’’

Rilwan said  more than five goats on the farm had been subjected to similar assaults.

‘’The owner has noted that he has frequently seen this group of four men near the farm. They have been selecting healthy muscular goats to do this,’’ he said.

Local newspaper Haveeru reported that the goat found on the beach had now died.

Haveeru also reported that the deceased animal was a billy-goat, however Rilwan told Minivan News that it was a nanny goat.


Police on the bleat: seven officers arrest goat

Seven members of the Maldives Police Service who arrested a wayward goat on the streets of Male yesterday morning have found themselves unwitting filmstars after the incident was filmed by a passerby.

The video footage, which appeared on the internet this morning in the form of a short film called ‘Black Goat Dawn’, showed two police attempting to tie the distressed creature’s legs together before throwing it into van.

The goat escaped police clutches several times, to the amusement of bystanders, slipping its cords and bolting for freedom amid shrieks from alarmed females.

The two officers called for backup, and eventually a squad of seven police, including several motorcycles and a paddy wagon, were able to apprehend the terrified creature and stow it in the van.

“We took the goat to the police tow yard and later found the owner, who said they’d brought it for a friend,’ said a bemused Inspector Shiyam.