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Haj goes high-tech for bloodless Eid sacrifices

MINA: Thanks to computer technology and SMS messaging, pilgrims were able to make their Eid Al-Adha sacrifice without getting blood on their hands.
The more than 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world had the option of computerized coupons to order a sacrifice — without even seeing the animal.
Many among the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims themselves pick up a knife and kill sheep or other animals to mark Eid Al-Adha.
“If each pilgrim himself sacrificed a sheep, there wouldn’t be enough space,” said Rabie Saleh, a Sudanese in line at a Saudi Post office at the Jamrat Bridge.
In the past, pilgrims themselves sacrificed animals before handing meat to the poor.
“But now there are millions of pilgrims. If each sacrificed a sheep, that would take days and days,” said 33-year-old Saudi pilgrim Mishal Al-Qahtani.
So the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) devised the electronic coupon system.
For SR460 this year, agencies located around holy sites visited by the pilgrims take charge of the sacrifice.
“As soon as someone buys from us, a request is sent to the bank through our system and a sheep is slaughtered in an abattoir,” explained Mansour Al-Malki, 45, a Saudi Post employee.
The meat is then cut up and handed out to the less fortunate in and around Makkah or sent overseas, said Al-Malki. “Before, there were paper coupons but now it is computerized.”
Al-Qahtani received a receipt showing he had paid for the sacrifice.
“They told me that I will soon get an SMS to tell me that a sheep has really been slaughtered,” Al-Qahtani said.

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