Indonesians make ATM sacrifices

Jakarta, Indonesia - On Tuesday Muslims across the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Islamic day of sacrifice.

Every Muslim who is rich enough is supposed to donate an animal to be slaughtered, and the meat is donated to the poor.

Sourcing the ideal beast can be time-consuming, but in Indonesia help is at hand.

There is now an easy alternative - you can buy an animal at your nearest ATM machine.

At this time of year the Indonesian countryside comes to Jakarta. For days, goats, sheep and cows have been tethered by roadsides waiting for prospective buyers.

But for those too busy to traipse the streets in search of a suitable sacrifice, the new ATM service provides a solution.

A newspaper, TV station and local bank have joined forces to provide the service. Having made their electronic purchase, customers are promised photographs of the slaughtered animal and a letter of thanks from the community which will benefit from the donated meat.

So far almost 4,000 goats have been sold this way at a cost of about $70 (£40) each.

A sacrificial cow will set you back more than $500.

The system may be popular among the busy business classes of the capital, but is it really in keeping with the spirit of Eid al-Adha?

A senior Muslim leader contacted by the BBC said he thought it was in accordance with Islam, but he added that unless you witnessed the slaughter first-hand and donated the meat personally, the religious experience would never be the same.