Monday, December 17, 2012

Blood Brothers

Love those happy clappers - they really know how to paint the town red, know what I mean?

Here's the Egyptian variety in full festive swing:

"Having chosen not to accommodate the constitutional demands of the secular and Christian opponents, and having long ago been spurned by the Sufi-based moderates, Mr Morsi and the Brothers have turned to the more extreme Salafists for support. These puritanical groups, which gathered roughly 25% of the seats in parliament, were displeased that the draft constitution being voted on does not specifically say that Egyptian law will be based on Islamic sharia. To secure their support, Mr Morsi... [has] hinted at a willingness to interpret the ambiguous new constitution in a very Islamic way. Just this week, for example, the government banned the broadcasting of any 'romantic' songs or videos on its 23 state-owned television and radio outlets, a move designed to salve a Salafist complaint against publicly funded 'obscenities.' It was 'throwing a bone to a dog,' said Hisham Kassem, a former publisher and human-rights activist, who pointed out that the real meat being offered the Salafists could be found at a place called Media Centre, headquarters for several major media organizations.

"Hundreds of Salafists have laid siege for the past 9 days to this media complex located in 6th of October City, a satellite community outside the capital, a few kilometres west of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Most participants are men in their 30s and 40s, in long beards and dressed in flowing galabias; a small percentage are women, dressed head to toe in black robes and niqabs. Their goal is to intimidate the men and women working in the broadcast outlets, people who, the Salafists say, are corrupt and biased against Islam. 'They do their job not to please God, but just to become famous,' one speaker at the protest said Friday. Each day, in a threatening ritual, the crowd slaughters a farm animal - a bull, a camel, a sheep - made up to represent one of the many on-air news presenters who work at the site. The animal, its face covered with a mask of the TV personality, is held on its side on concrete tiles heavily stained with blood, while a butcher slits its throat. The crowd cheers, calling out the name of the presenter - on Friday it was Wael Ibrashi of Dream TV - and shouted the ritual 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great). The animal then is strung up beneath a banner that shows President Morsi and the Salafist demand that he 'purge the media.'" (Morsi cedes to extremists on Egyptian constitution, Patrick Martin, The Globe & Mail, 14/12/12)

Meanwhile, up in the deep north, in Jerusalem town to be exact, it's well and truly party time:

"This week, on the 10th of Nisan, (April 2), the Temple Institute, in conjunction with other Temple oriented organizations, conducted an afternoon seminar, all about the korban Pesach - Passover offering. Classes were held in which the commandment of the Passover offering, the halacha (laws) surrounding the offering, and the practical application of the performance of the Passover offering in our day, were discussed. Hundreds of interested men, women and children attended the sessions. At 5:00 PM the classes concluded and the audience and the organizers reconvened out of doors, where more than a thousand people had already gathered in anticipation of the day's main event: a live demonstration of the korban Pesach.

"Two lambs had already been selected and a shochet (ritual slaughterer) was present. A small mizbeach (stone altar) had been constructed for the purpose of the demonstration. Kohanim (priests), in priestly garments (provided by the Temple Institute), were also in attendance. The re-enactment involved the slaughtering of the lamb, the gathering of its blood in the mizrak vessel designed especially for this purpose, and the dashing of the blood by the kohanim against the altar. The lamb was then dressed by the shochet. Organs that would be burned on the altar in accordance with biblical command were removed and displayed. The lamb was put on a spit as it was done in the era of the Holy Temple and roasted in a specially prepared oven, again, as it had been done in Holy Temple days. The meat was distributed to needy families. It was stressed throughout that this was only a demonstration for educational purposes. This was not a korban Pesach offering, which can only be done at an altar which stands in the precise location of the Holy Temple altar on the Temple Mount. 

"The two thousand plus crowd who attended was comprised of people of all stripes - ultra orthodox, modern orthodox and secular. In truth, it was a cross section of the entire nation of Israel. The interest was so strong and the desire to see the demonstration so intense that the re-enactment couldn't proceed until a 'sterile area' around the proceedings could be established. Local and overseas, religious and secular, media alike were enthusiastically covering the event. Most astonishing and rewarding was the palpable excitement which filled the air and animated the attendants. This was not your average afternoon 'entertainment'. It was truly as if an ancient collective memory had been revived. A spirit of holiday joy and unity was kindled. As the re-enactment wound down, many heartwarming calls of 'Next year in the Holy Temple' could be heard from the crowd." (The Temple Mount Institute, 2012)

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