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Qatar Counts Its Sheep

Jul 25, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Qatari herdsmen drive their camels along Qatar's border with Saudi Arabia.
(KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The diplomatic crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has interfered with Qatar's political and economic activities since it erupted in late May. But now it's threatening to interfere with the country's religious practices as well. As Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's most important holidays, approaches in late August and early September, concerns are mounting that the blockade against Qatar will keep its people from celebrating in accordance with custom. The holiday, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's trust in God, reflected in his willingness to sacrifice his son. Because God ultimately provided Ibrahim with a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son, observers of Eid al-Adha traditionally slaughter live animals -- often sheep, but sometimes goats, cattle or camels -- to eat and share with friends, relatives and people in need. Demand for live animals spikes in Muslim-majority countries in the weeks before the holiday,...

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