SINGAPORE - Thousands of Muslims across Singapore gathered at 69 mosques for prayers to mark Hari Raya Haji, the Festival of Sacrifice on Sunday morning.
Throughout the day, 24 mosques and two Muslim organisations will also be performing the Islamic sacrificial ritual of Korban, where livestock - in this case imported sheep and lamb - are slaughtered and the meat distributed to worshippers and the needy.
Preparations for the ritual hit a bump in the road on Thursday when 174 Australian sheep died en-route on a SIA Cargo flight from Perth to Singapore. Early investigations show that they died of heat stress.
The shortfall of sheep livestock was replaced by extra Irish lambs. Another 59 came from a buffer in the supply imported in. A total of 2,000 sheep and 1,500 lamb will be sacrificed by the end of the day.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim who attended morning prayers and observed korban operations at Assyafaah Mosque in Admiralty, said that the Singapore Mosques Korban Committee (JKMS) and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, will continue to do their best for Muslims here.
He said: "There will be unforeseen circumstances but we will do our best and try and plan ahead... Today, despite all the setbacks over the last few days, I'm confident that all of us who have made the intention to do the sacrifice, will be able to fulfil that."
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore which is doing a post-mortem on some of the dead Australian sheep, has ruled out the possibility of infectious disease. The group director of its quarantine and inspection group, Dr Yap Him Hoo, said yesterday that the five-hour flight was too short a duration for such diseases to take hold and spread, and that the remaining animals were healthy and had passed quarantine.