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Muslim cleric vows to launch crackdown operation on Gulu hotels, restaurants selling ‘unclean meat’

Sheikh Ismail Ali Omona, Imam of Jamia mosque in Gulu town dragged the carcass into the shock pit at Gulu Municipal abattoir. (PHOTO/OKEMA)

GULU – The Muslim leadership of Acholi district has issued a strong condemnation on the sale of beef that is not slaughtered by Muslims.

The Islamic leadership in the northern district says this unfit meat is being served in hotels and several food joints in northern Uganda.

The statement came out on Tuesday after members of the Muslim faith were shocked to learn that on the just concluded Eid Al Aduha, a non-Muslim identified as Okello Ozondo, who is a butcher at a Gulu abattoir slaughtered a cow that was sold in Islamic celebration.

Upon receiving the sad news, Sheikh Khelil convened a meeting that was attended by both regional and district Muslim leaders in Acholi.

It was hosted at Jamia Mosque in Gulu town on the same evening and resolved to have the culprit brought to book and to launch subsequent operations on several other local hotels.

“We have identified very many places including prominence hotels in Gulu town that killing their animals such as goats and serve as food to visiting Muslims from foreign nation residing with them and this is a taboo and is equal to poisoning,” Sheikh Khelil said.

“We are going to work with MVO to draft a Memorandum of Understanding between hotels owners and Muslims that they shall accept and abide to follow the law of slaughter of animals be done by Muslim strictly,” Sheikh Khelil noted.

Should the owners of hotels, restaurants fail to sign the MOU with the Muslims, Sheikh Khelil vowed that they will unveil their names to the public in a bid to protect their Muslim members from being poisoned.

The crackdown operation shall also target unregulated slaughter points around the town and sub-counties.

Sheikh Musa Khelil the Acholi district Khadi said it was very sad for Muslim faithful and leaders in Gulu town at Jamia Mosque to perceive that a non-Muslim actually slaughtered a cow from Gulu abattoir that was sold to the community including the Muslims customers on the Eid Al Aduha festival, a holy day when Muslims usually slaughter a large number of animals for food globally.

“Somebody slaughtered his own bull against the law of this country because the person was not authorized by the Muslim supreme council and the meat was not inspected and what pained the Muslims so much is that the incident is an insult to the celebration of Eid al-Adha day,” the cleric stated.

Sheikh Khelil noted that killing animals for food in northern Uganda is becoming a common vice.

He said it has happened for the third time at the Gulu abattoir within a period of less than a month even in the presence of abattoir tenderer.

The cleric has therefore appealed to the Municipal authority to recall off the contract so that a Muslim faithful is offered the tender.

The meat was intercepted by acting Municipal Veterinary officer Ms Christine Ajok on getting intelligence information that someone slaughtered a cow and was ferrying it to meat shops in town before it was inspected by a veterinary officer.

Ms Ajok noted that she intercepted the meat on two accounts. First, the meat was not inspected for health.

Secondly, it was slaughtered very late hours of Monday 11, and it was done by a non-Muslim which was past the normal time to slaughter animals.

She explained that for any animal to enter the abattoir, the gateman must register the particulars, and once it is slaughtered by the responsible people it must be inspected and certified to exit the gate into the public domain for consumption and in case the meat is unhealthy it must be discarded into the soak pit.

The carcass weighing about 70 kilograms was discarded in a soak pit where condemned meat is usually dumped at the Municipal abattoir on Monday.

Sheikh Musa Khelil condemned the meat of a bull slaughtered by the non-Muslim butcher. (PHOTO/OKEMA)

According to Sheikh Khelil the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal and Fisheries authorizes Sheikh Muniri of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council to oversee Alal bureau (slaughter of animals) for public consumption across the country.

In Gulu, according to the Acholi districts Khadi, four people were licensed by Sheikh Muniri from UMSC to slaughter animals for public consumption. Gulu district, according to the Muslim leader, has only two regulated abattoirs for slaughtering animals, Gulu Municipal abattoir in Layibi Techo and Unyama abattoir at Unyama trading center in Unyama Sub County.

Appeal to MVO to increase the level of surveillance and police to tighten their effort in enforcing the law without waiting for Muslims to do it themselves.

Though there is no national pronouncement backing Muslims monopolizing the slaughtering of animals, clerics claims the debate on who should do it started immediately after Uganda got its independence in 1962 and Muslims were to take lead in slaughtering animals for public consumption to ensure good social relationship and welfare Muslims and non-Muslims.

“If Islam slaughters everybody eat for good relationship and social welfare,” he argued.

Besides, restriction of slaughter in Uganda is only provided in the Animal Disease Act 2000 which states that the commissioner of livestock and entomology may, for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease, prohibit in any place the slaughter of cattle for food and the sale of meat or carcasses or of any part of the meat or carcasses.

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