It is a â€˜silent lawâ€™ that Muslims are the ones supposed to slaughter animals, sometimes even chicken, for public consumption. Silent, because authorities deny any legality of that assumption. Muslims say it is their right, while the public have taken it as an accepted norm. Irene Nabusoba combed the streets and this is what the public thinks
Kalema Joseph, a trader
I cut my chicken and goats and if I decide to have a feast, I do not mind buying meat from wherever.
I buy meat from the butcheries, which are commonly run by Muslims because these are the accredited places. But if there were Christian butcheries or Muslims slaughtering the animals, no big deal. It has never been a law that Muslims are the only ones to slaughter animals for consumption. It is self-imposed because they were the first people to bring a foreign religion to Buganda, along with their practices, which have come to be accepted as our norms. But some of us who are not of their faith do not care who slaughters the animals.
Sam Wanyaka, director of budget at Parliament
I would not eat meat that has not been cut by either myself, or a Muslim. When I am slaughtering a chicken or goat, I pray for it and dedicate its spirit to God, like Muslims do.
I do not think there are Christians who do that. Christians do it so brutally. I like the way the Muslims sanctify the life and spirit of this creature, despite the fact that it is an animal. That is how God likes it.
When I slaughter my animals, I also do it in a civilised way. Muslims have set this tradition and it would be naÃ¯ve for Christians to think that they can also start doing it. Muslims have for long claimed these jobs and have come to improve meat hygiene standards. It would take a while for Christians to pick up and for the public to trust our meat.
Tracy Malinga, 30, a counsellor
My husband often slaughters the chicken but when it comes to goats or cows, we ask for the services of a Muslim. People will not eat if they know a Muslim did not slaughter it. It is a biblical tradition. God said that we should first say a prayer to cleanse the animal and then slaughter it as a sacrifice by letting the blood first flow out. But how many Christians do that? Christians have ignored the Old Testament which carries these teachings, choosing to only believe in the New Testament which says that whatever you eat is clean and it is only what comes out of you that matters. Besides, how would you feel, for a person who cleans himself and prays five times a day to slaughter for you an animal? I do not believe in their religion but I prefer their procedure of slaughtering. Personally, I would not look for a pastor to slaughter the animal.
Muzei Sarapio, a shopkeeper
I think Muslims should be the ones to slaughter animals because it is a unifying factor. We are in a society with varied cultures and religious beliefs. It would be wrong to allow Christians to operate their own butcheries because we would be segregating against our brothers. It may not be in our law, but when a practise over stays, it is not easy to wash it off the face of society.
Tereza Lukumula, a businesswoman
I eat meat cut by Muslims because it is what is available in public butcheries, but back in our villages, we slaughter our animals ourselves.
I would invite a Muslim to slaughter for me only if I expect any guest to be Muslim.
Eddie Asiimwe, a boda-boda cyclist
I only see this thing here (in the central region). In Kabale, where I come from, we slaughter our own animals. It is up to Muslims, who are actually a minority there, to operate their own butchery.
Otherwise we slaughter our own chicken and goats. If a Muslim happens to pay me a visit before meal time, I let him cut it so we can both enjoy it. If he finds the meat is already prepared, it is too bad.
Otherwise this issue of inviting them to slaughter our animals at a fee, then they demand for the best parts like its their privilege. My cow!
Abra, a student
Meat is meat, irrespective of who has slaughtered the animal. But at home I am the one always slaughtering the chicken because we normally consume our own, unlike meat which we often buy from the butcheries. All I know is that it is men supposed to do the slaughtering, not women.
Robert Kanwagi, a project coordinator
I can eat any meat as long as it has no infection, the environment from which they are selling it is hygienic, the butcher is neat and Muslims have proved to be very good at this. Look at our butcheries for pork, which are exclusively run by non-Muslims â€” disastrous and unhygienic. Besides, Islam is the only religion that takes sacrifices seriously.
They bless the meat and carry on the process in an orderly manner. Well, Christians may wake up to open up their own butcheries, but looking at the commercial side, theirs will lose a considerable section of the market. But it is about choice. Christians should venture and let the buyers decide. Why should Muslims have monopoly over this? But we should approach it cautiously, when belief overstays, it becomes a norm and once the norms are universally accepted, you cannot change them overnight. But there is no legal binding that it is an exclusive activity for the Muslims. It is just that many people have grown up seeing mainly Muslim butchers.