Friday, December 21, 2007

Where are the "property rights" and "religious freedom" Republicans on this?

For the last six years, Muslim families who live and work in the "Research Triangle" around Raleigh-Durham North Carolina have piled into their cars after morning services that signal the start of Eid al-Adha -- or the "festival of sacrifice" -- and driven to the farm of Eddie Rowe.

At his farm, the children play, the wives set up picnic lunches and the husbands wait their turn to go into the barn and slaughter a lamb or a goat in the traditional, halal manner. The tradition of sacrifice goes all the way back to Abraham, the patriarch of all three of the worlds major monotheistic religions. The story of Abraham, set forth in the holy texts of Judaism, Islam and Christianity tells of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on the altar to please God. His willingness did indeed please God, and he was allowed to sacrifice an animal instead. To this day, many Muslims the world over observe the ritual sacrifice by slaughtering a lamb or a goat and sharing the meat.

This year, the state stepped in and put a stop to what has become a tradition among the Islamic doctors and researchers who have been drawn to the area by research jobs at hospitals and universities. They say that Rowe is operating an illegal and unsanitary slaughterhouse.

Rowe said that state agriculture officials did not give him any advance warning, instead a restraining order was sought and served to stop the sacrifice from going forward this year. Some of the people who have made a tradition of sacrificing an animal on Eddie Rowe's farm took their animals elsewhere to perform the ritual, and others took their money back.

The state of North Carolina has offered Rowe plans for a code-compliant slaughterhouse - that would cost three-quarters of a million dollars to build. Rowe, understandably, is reluctant to take that plunge, since he only makes about $20.00 per animal and sells about 250 animals each Eid.

I don't understand his reluctance...He could break even in a mere 150 years.

North Carolina law allows people to slaughter animals they have raised themselves without following codes meant for commercial meat processors. But to be exempt from those codes, Wells said, they may not sell the meat to others.

Rowe's lawyer, Glenn Barfield, thinks the law allows Muslims to slaughter the animals on Rowe's land. The state has suggested that Muslims take their animals to commercial slaughterhouses, but Barfield said many of those would not allow someone to kill an animal themselves.

Rowe and his farmhands said they had a natural sympathy for the Muslims' plight. Local residents, they noted, would not take kindly to a law that pro- hibited them from dressing a deer or holding communal hog killings, long a North Carolina ritual.

So my question is - where are the people who scream the loudest that their religious rights are infringed when a creche is removed from public property? Where are the property rights people who jump up and down and scream that a mans property is his to do with as he damn well sees fit when an endangered species is discovered that prevents him from cutting down a tree or building a garage?

Do they have anything to say about this?

All I hear is crickets...