Some Syrians face starvation on Eid holiday

Posted by Hannah Allam on October 15, 2013 

Muslims all over the world are celebrating Eid al Adha, or festival of the sacrifice, flooding Instagram and Facebook with pictures of their syrupy pastries, carefully spiced lamb dishes and other traditional holiday delicacies.

Amid the stream of festive, food-filled photos is a particularly bleak BBC dispatch on Syria, where a civil war is well into its third year. The report says that a group of clerics in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Muadhamiya issued a rare fatwa, or religious edict, allowing people who are living under siege to eat meat that's normally forbidden.

In the video, according to the BBC, the Muslim clerics made cats, dogs and donkeys permissible to eat "to stave off hunger." Starvation is an emerging concern in some communities where Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has cut off food, supplies and power to rout rebel forces in the areas.

Over the weekend, the regime allowed hundreds of trapped civilians to flee Muadhamiya in a brief lull; photos of the exodus showed emaciated children and people on stretchers. It's just a sliver of the massive humanitarian crisis that aid workers say is only going to worsen once winter arrives.

But for the unknown number of people still in the area, it's a very grim Eid indeed. Here's more from the BBC report on the fatwa:

In a message to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha - normally a time for celebration and feasting - the religious leaders authorised those left in the Ghouta agricultural belt around Damascus to eat animals usually considered unfit for human consumption in Islam.

The clerics said it was a cry for help to the whole world, adding that if the situation continued to deteriorate, the living would have to eat the dead.

It is not the first such fatwa issued in the Syrian conflict.

Similar religious edicts were announced in Homs and Aleppo when the fighting in those cities was at its fiercest.




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