Egypt vegetarians dread Eid slaughtering ritual
On the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday this year – during which Muslims ritually slaughter livestock – vegetarians and vegans in Egypt’s capital Cairo are looking to escape, according to a report by The Guardian.
In the days immediately after Eid al-Adha, the crowded streets of Cairo flow with blood from the slaughtering of sheep, goats, and cows. The city’s butchers can be regularly spotted during Eid with their overalls soaked in blood – horrifying those who choose to pursue a meat-free diet, according to the report.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve had to get out of Cairo,” says Alaa Sharshar, the 25-year-old owner of a vegan restaurant told The Guardian. “They were slaughtering a cow behind my building, and I remember everything from seeing the blood, seeing the life come out of the cow, the smell, and I felt very uncomfortable. So ever since we’ve always got out the city for that day.”
Other vegetarians report having an easier time. Maie al-Zeiny, who runs an initiative during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan serving vegetarian meals for people breaking their fast, told the newspaper that not eating meat was not a difficult lifestyle choice, as many Egyptian delicacies are meat-free.
And while eating an entirely vegetable-based diet is not common among most Egyptians, some default to vegetarianism out of poverty – although many are able to eat donated meat during Eid.
Ahmed al-Dorghamy, an environmentalist who campaigns for lower meat consumption, told The Guardian that in addition to its associations with wealth, Egyptian men feel more socially pressured to eat meat.
“In some families and some social circles, eating meat is associated with manliness – so it’s easier for girls to get away with not eating meat than a guy,” Dorghamy said.
Eid al-Adha honors the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command, before God then intervened to provide Ibrahim with a lamb to sacrifice instead.