New York Daily News (MCT)
Muslims ritually slaughter a sheep as part
of their observance of Eid al-Adha. (Photo
Iraqi authorities were reluctant to hang the deposed strongman during the Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins today and marks the end of the annual hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.
Iraqi law — written during Saddam's dictatorship — bars executions during a religious holiday.
So there was some thought on whether to give Saddam a reprieve if the hanging did not take place before the new day dawned.
"If it's not tonight, it will be after Eid," leading Iraqi politician Sami al-Askari told Reuters before the hanging went ahead.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki even sought a ruling from clerics on exactly how the execution would interact with the timing of Eid.
It was thought Shiites would welcome a pre-Eid hanging of the hated Sunni dictator but that Saddam's fellow Sunni Muslims would see the timing as a direct affront, experts said.
Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, commemorates an event central to the spiritual narratives of Islam, Judaism and Christianity — the patriarch Ibrahim, also known as Abraham, and his willingness to sacrifice his son on God's command.
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