October 16th, 2013
11:38 AM ET

In Syria, Muslims struggle to celebrate holy day

By Saad Abedine. Hala Gorani and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - Muslims throughout the world have been marking Eid al-Adha, but in war-torn Syria there is nothing to celebrate. Most people are struggling to meet the most basic of needs: food, water, and shelter.

Their plight has been highlighted by Arabic media reports which cite a fatwa, or religious ruling, by a local imam which allowed people who are desperately hungry to eat dogs and cats.

Eating dog, cat or donkey is forbidden under Islamic dietary laws.

The imam in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the capital, Damascus, reportedly said at a mosque Friday that dog, cat and donkey meat could be eaten "after reaching a desperate need and the stores of food were inadequate to feed the population under the siege."

Yarmouk has been besieged for months by Syrian government forces seeking to flush out rebel fighters.

During the Eid al-Adha holiday, considered one of Islam's most revered observances, many Muslims around the world sacrifice a sheep and share the meat with the poor. It corresponds with the height of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that annually draws 2 million Muslims.

Outside Syrian, Muslims held more plentiful Eid al-Adha celebrations.

MORE ON CNN: Photos: Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Belief • Eid al-Adha • Faith • Food • Holidays • Islam • Islamic law • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • Syria • Traditions

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