Archive for Halal

French PM Calls on Muslims and Jews to Renounce Halal and Kosher Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More French loonieness:

French PM calls on Muslims and Jews to renounce halal and kosher slaughter

France’s prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon made the suggestion after Sarkozy called at the weekend for butchers to clearly label meat slaughtered according to religious laws and his allies warned immigrants might impose halal meat on French schoolchildren.

Fillon and other conservative leaders linked this tough stand on ritually prepared meat to issues such as immigration and French identity that the far-right National Front uses to tap into resentment against Europe’s largest Muslim minority.

“Religions should think about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,” Fillon told Europe 1 radio while discussing the two-round presidential election ending May 6. The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said. “We live in a modern society.”

Mohammad Moussaoui, head of France’s Muslim Council, said ritual slaughter was no more painful than modern methods and labelling meat as being prepared “without stunning” would feed resentment against the two minority religions using it. “It will stigmatise Muslims and Jews as people who don’t respect the interests of animals,” he said. “That will raise tensions in society.”

Reuters, 5 March 2012

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Halal Hysteria Courtesy of Islamophobic French Politics

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by loonwatch

This is not the first, and I hazard to guess not the last time halal hysteria has reared its stupid head in France.

France: Halal Becomes Political Issue for presidential race

As the race heats up among Elysee hopefuls, halal meat has become a political issue for France’s presidential candidates for getting support for the country’s top post.

“There is no controversy here,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy told supporters in Rungis in the southern suburb of Paris on Tuesday, February 21, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.  “Every year we consume 200,000 tons of meat in the Paris region and 2.5 percent of it is kosher or halal.”

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front party, said last week that all meat in Paris was halal.

“All the abattoirs of the Paris region have succumbed to the rules of a minority. We have reason to be disgusted,” Le Pen told a rally in Lille on Saturday.

Adding to the controversy, a documentary was aired by France 2 alleging that slaughterhouses around Paris have switched meat production entirely to halal methods.

The documentary said that all the abattoirs in the greater Paris region were producing only halal meat, selling some without labeling it as such to avoid the cost of running separate lines for halal and non-halal customers.

The concept of halal — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.

Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

Halal meat is a booming market in France and growing demand for it on school, hospital and company canteen menus has already caused tension and misunderstandings between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Officials say most of the meat consumed in and around Paris is slaughtered outside the region and much of it still comes from slaughterhouses that use non-halal methods.

Home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim minority, estimated at between five and six million, France has for years been debating how far it is willing to go to accommodate Islam, now the country’s second religion.

The country has come under fire from Muslim groups for a series of measures authorities say are aimed at protecting France’s secular tradition, including a ban on wearing hijab (headscarf) and full-face veils such as Niqab and the Burqa.

Kosher Meals Cost Taxpayers Over Half a Million Dollars: What if These Were Halal Meals?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by loonwatch

GOP presidential hopeful and rabid Islamophobe Newt Gingrich is slamming Mitt Romney for vetoing a 2003 bill that would allocate an additional $600,000 of taxpayer money to provide poor Jewish nursing home residents with Kosher meals.  Thundered Gingrich:

Romney as Governor eliminated kosher food for retired Jewish senior citizens…He has no understanding of the importance of religious liberty in this country.

I myself don’t have a problem with providing Kosher meals, and I would not have opposed the additional funding like Romney did.  But, this does beg the question: what if this had been about Halal meals instead?

Had that been the case, the situation would have been completely reversed.  In that scenario, had Mitt Romney supported a bill that allocated over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to Halal meals for poor Muslim nursing home residents, what do you think Newt Gingrich and the rest of the right-wing would be saying then?  They would be ruthlessly attacking him for this.

We’d also hear a lot about how Muslims in America and the West in general demand “special rules” and “special treatment”–how they have a “feeling of entitlement.”  We’d hear about how Muslims want “hand-outs” and “leech off” of the rest of us.  We’d hear all the typical racist and bigoted charges that are often levied against non-white minorities.

Whenever a minority asks for cultural or religious accommodation, especially Muslims, they are accused of such things.  What good, white, Judeo-Christian folk sometimes fail to realize is that the system is by default heavily bent in their favor, with “special accommodations” for them already built in.

This reminds me of a conversation I overheard between a Christian and Muslim colleague of mine.  The Christian employee was complaining about how “it was unfair” that the Muslim colleague got to come in late for work on his religious holiday (Eid) and leave a bit early on that same day; she said: “It’s not fair: you guys get our Christmas off but we don’t get your holiday off.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  She gets a whole two weeks off to go visit her family in another state, whereas he gets half a day off so that he can take his wife and kids out to eat at the local kabob joint.  The Muslim employee wants “special treatment” (if you can call it that) because the system is already so slanted in favor of the dominant, majority group.

I’ve seen a similar occurrence with Friday prayers, with Muslim colleagues racing back and forth during lunch to make it in time.  Meanwhile, Jews get Saturday off and Christians get Sunday off–by default.  At my work, we often have to come in on Saturdays, but observant Jews can get it off by “special request.”  If Muslims made that sort of request, we wouldn’t hear the end of it.

This is a nation of immigrants, and as such, we must be ready to accommodate–within the bounds of reason–various races, religions, and customs.  The only alternative, I suppose, is to adopt the nativist view of right-wingers: “they” must accommodate to “us.”  This view, however, fails to realize that both groups need to bend a little to accommodate the other.

Speaking of Kosher and Halal, one recalls how the Queen of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller, who is herself Jewish, attacks Muslims for how cruel Halal slaughter is, even though it’s virtually the exact same process used by Jews for Kosher.  Had a candidate supported a bill to give half a million dollars to provide Halal food, Geller would be screeching about how this was providing state support for evil Muslim butchery and animal cruelty.  Common sense and rationality are lost with such absurdities.

On that note, I think it would behoove the reader to consider how dramatically different views are when we substitute “Jew” for “Muslim” or the other way around: for example, the standard “you can’t be racist against Muslims, because Muslim is not a race” doesn’t seem right when we say “you can’t be racist against Jews, because Jew is not a race.”  It’s a worthwhile exercise to do any time you read a story about Muslims: just do the substitution and ask yourself if it sounds right.  There’s a reason it doesn’t: all of these anti-Muslim smears were once used against Jews: it’s the same message, just used against a different minority group.

Islamophobes never want to play the substitution game, which is why they cry “tu quoque, tu quoque” whenever anyone uses it.  They must at all costs prevent it from being used because it lays bare their bigotry.

In this particular case, it’s supporting “religious freedom” to use taxpayer money to provide Kosher meals to Jewish residents.  But remember: it would be against freedom and free choice to use taxpayer money to provide Halal meals for Muslims.  When it’s about Kosher, then it’s forcing your religious beliefs onto Jews to not provide Kosher meals, thereby “forcing” them to eat non-Kosher meals; when it’s about Halal, then it’s Muslims forcing their beliefs onto us, by forcing us to provide them with special meals.

As George Orwell said: ”Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Is your Thanksgiving Turkey a Muslim? Anti-Islam Blogger Warns of ‘Stealth Halal Turkeys’

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by loonwatch
How well do you know your turkey?How well do you know your turkey?

Is your Thanksgiving turkey a Muslim? Anti-Islam blogger warns of ‘stealth halal turkeys’

by 

Anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller is warning Americans to be on the lookout for “stealth halal turkeys” this Thanksgiving.

It may be dead – and poultry – but that won’t stop your Thanksgiving turkey playing its part in jihad.

At least, that’s what rightwing blogger and anti-Islam paranoiac Pamela Geller thinks.

Geller decided to incite some festive hate with this post on Monday, in which she repeats her accusations that the US meat industry does not separate halal from non-halal meat, and accuses popular turkey supplier Butterball of sneaking birds prepared according to Muslim requirements onto non-Muslim tables.

Geller claims halal slaughter methods are “torturous and painful” for the turkeys, and an assault on everyone else’s freedom to have them killed in whichever way they choose:

“Across this great country, on Thanksgiving tables nationwide, infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. Turkeys that are halal certified — who wants that, especially on a day on which we are giving thanks to G-d [sic] for our freedom? I wouldn’t knowingly buy a halal turkey — would you? Halal turkey, slaughtered according to the rules of Islamic law, is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.”

Geller is calling on those who agree with her to boycott Butterball’s “stealth halal turkeys” and write to the company to register their disapproval.

Those who don’t have been responding to Geller’s arguments in the comments section of her website.

Her readers’ ripostes range from the factual – ‘Gothelittle’ points out the similarity of halal slaughter methods to kosher ones, and the arguable benefits of both compared to non-religious mass meat production – to the pragmatic, courtesy of ‘JonathanMurray’:

“If someone was actually concerned about this silliness, they’d need to know *before* it was time to start thawing that frozen bird. Four days in the fridge… today is three days before Thanksgiving. Dumb.”

Meanwhile, Adam Serwer of Mother Jones points out that if all Butterball turkeys are indeed certified halal, it’s presumably because meat sellers are responding to market demand:

You might even be tempted to observe that Muslim Americans marking a secular, American holiday celebrating pluralism and freedom from religious persecution might be a sign of the extent to which American Muslims have assimilated into American culture. What you didn’t know was that when markets respond to the demands of Muslim consumers, freedom dies.

And Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim expresses her surprise that halal turkeys are apparently so freely available, having struggled to find them in previous years – and invites Geller to come and share a kosher turkey with her and her family this Thanksgiving.

Those halal turkeys must be stealthier than even Geller could imagine.

Facing Islamophobic Backlash, Whole Foods Instructs Stores Not To ‘Promote’ Ramadan This Year

Posted in Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Facing Islamophobic Backlash, Whole Foods Instructs Stores Not To ‘Promote’ Ramadan This Year

(ThinkProgress)

In the current era of Islamophobia, anything remotely “Muslim-ish” touches off paranoid delusions of impending jihad, particularly when it involves American emblems — like Whole Foods. Last week, the suburban staple decided to tout “Saffron Road,” a new line of Halal-certified frozen food, to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Halal foods are items permitted under Islamic dietary guidelines. In a post on the company’s website entitled “What’s this halal about,” Whole Foods offered a chance to win free samples because “whether you eat halal because of your religious dietary guidelines or you simply prefer to choose food that’s made with high-quality, responsibly farmed ingredients, then Saffron Road has some tasty offerings for you.”

It seems that a “very small” contingent of consumers and right-wing bloggers simply preferred to throw an apoplectic fit. Thus, in apparent genuflection to this bloc, Whole Foods sent an email to all its U.S. stores specifically telling the franchises not to promote Ramadan this year. The Houston Press obtained a copy of the email:

“It is probably best that we don’t specifically call out or ‘promote’ Ramadan,” reads a portion of that email. “We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.”

This reversal marks “a significant departure from years past, when Whole Foods has promoted its halal items during Ramadan with small signs that displayed a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam.” What’s more, the move is hardly likely to placate the small number of fringe bloggers who are already boycotting the chain for “pimping and promoting–’Canaan Fair Trade’ and ‘Palestinian Fair Trade’ Olive Oil.” But given the conservative credentials of Whole Foods owner John Mackey, perhaps its surprising the company even considered recognizing Islam in the first place.

Whole Foods responded that the company has not stopped the campaign. It states it is still highlighting halal but also maintained it is still “not specifically [promoting] #Ramadan after some negative comments.” In any event, as Gawker notes, the whole episode does serve as a kind of flow chart for future faux-controversies: “Are you a racist xenophobe who dislikes anything at all for any arbitrary reason? Simply complain loudly on your blog, and Whole Foods will obsequiously cater to your every last prejudice.”

*Updated*

Despite a wave of false rumors that it was backing out of its Ramadan campaign, Whole Foods has directly stated via Twitter that they are indeed standing behind their efforts.

“We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments.”

Dutch MPs Vote to Ban Religious Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Is it more “humane” to slaughter animals by shocking them first? That is what most Dutch politicians seem to think.

Dutch MPs Vote to Ban Religious Slaughter

(AlJazeera English)

A bill which would ban halal and kosher slaughter methods has passed through the Dutch parliament, despite opposition from Muslim and Jewish groups who say a ban would impinge on their religious freedoms.

The bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by parliamentarians on Wednesday, still has to pass through the Dutch senate, which is unlikely before the summer recess.

The Dutch cabinet said on Monday that the law may be unenforceable in its current form due to the ambiguity of a last-minute amendment that says religious slaughter licenses can be granted if they can “prove” that it does not cause animals more pain than stunning.

If the Netherlands outlaws procedures that make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, it would be the second country after New Zealand to do so in recent years. Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland also ban religious slaughter.

Henk Blekers, the Dutch deputy secretary of economic affairs and agriculture, said that the cabinet would “look at how it fits with freedom of religion”, citing the European Convention on Human Rights.

Both halal and kosher slaughter rules prescribe that animals’ throats must be cut swiftly with a razor-sharp knife while they are still conscious, so that they bleed to death quickly.

‘Animal rights over religious rights’

But the Party for Animals, the main proponents of the proposed law, argue that sparing animals needless pain and distress outweighs religious groups’ rights to follow their respective slaughter practices.

“They (livestock) stay conscious for up to 5 minutes. They lose a lot of blood and they can choke on their own blood and the cut should be one time, but research shows that with kosher slaughter (they are cut) on average 3.5 times, and with halal 5.5 times,” Karen Soeters of the Party for Animals told Al Jazeera.

But defenders of the practices said that religious slaughter methods could be humane.

“With halal, the animal can’t be stressed. It can’t see other animals being killed,” Abdulhakim Chouaati of the Dutch Halal Feed and Food Authority told Al Jazeera.

“It’s our religion we’re practicing, and expressing religion in our modern industrial society is not a thing which is appealing to the public,” Ronnie Eisenmann, a Jewish community leader in the Netherlands told Al Jazeera.

In an open letter pleading with parliament not to pass the law, a a committee of rabbis said the impact on the Jewish community would be “deep and large”.

“Older Jews are frightened and wonder what the next law will be that limits their religious life. The youth are openly asking whether they still have a future that they can or want to build in the Netherlands,” the letter continued.

Only Christian political parties opposed the ban, arguing that it undermined the country’s tradition of religious tolerance.

A solid majority of Dutch voters say they support the ban, and parliament voted for it by a margin of 116 for to 30 against.

The support for the ban comes from an odd pairing of the political left, which sees religious slaughter as inhumane, and from the anti-immigration right, which says it is foreign and barbaric.

World Net Daily worries that if you eat “halal” food you’re eating food sacrificed to idols

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by loonwatch

WND, the wacky right wing Evangelical website is forwarding the myth that halal food is sacrificed to idols. They also peddle the conspiracy that Americans are going to be forced to eat halal food. The piece from God Discussion is an excellent rebuttal.

World Net Daily worries that if you eat “halal” food you’re eating food sacrificed to idols

(God Discussion)

Pastor Mark Biltz over at World Net Daily worries that you might inadvertently eat “halal” food in the good old US of A–a country of many cultures—food he says is sacrificed to idols, and “catch” Islam like a virus.    Ignorance of Islam is at its highest in this comment by Pastor Biltz:

At issue, says Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., is eating food that’s “halal,” in other words “lawful” or “permitted” for the Muslim diet.

Muslims join many Jews and some Christians in avoiding the consumption of certain animals such as pigs and birds of prey, but those of the Islamic faith also have their meat blessed in the name of their god, Allah.

“From the Christian standpoint, Allah would be an idol,” Biltz told WND.”

From a faith standpoint, “Allah” IS God, NOT an idol.  Allah.org states:

Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word god which can be made plural, gods, or feminine, goddess. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Quran, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads:

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.”

The Quran also condemns the worship of idols, same as the Christian God:

The Quran reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects, it asks:

“Do you worship what you have carved yourself?” (37:95)

“Or have you taken unto you others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” (13:16)

Moreover, the term “Allah” is used by Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths (let us not forget that Islam is a branch from the same tree as Christianity and Judaism).  That means that Mizrahi Jews, Eastern Catholics,  Ba’hai’s, and Eastern Orthodox Christians, as Arabic speakers, use the word “Allah.”

As for WND’s and Pastor Biltz’ worry that you and I are eating “halal” food unawares, every day we eat Jewish kosher food and it hasn’t hurt anyone. World Net Daily can’t even get the halal process right.  The halal process goes like this:

Halal Meat – The Process
The slaughtering rules (dhabh in Arabic) for Halal, which are based on Islamic teachings, ethics and jurisprudence need to strictly follow the guidelines below:
-
The premises, equipment and machinery must be classed according to Islamic Shariah (Law) before any production takes place
A trained Muslim man should slaughter the animal in a licensed slaughter house with the implementation of all the hygiene and animal welfare regulations
The slaughterman must be a mature and pious Muslim of sound mind who fully understands the fundamentals and conditions relating to Halal slaughter and must be licensed by the Meat Hygiene Service
The animal/bird must be fed and grown on natural vegetarian diet
The animal/bird must be alive, healthy and free from any disease or injury at the time of slaughter. This should be certified and checked by a veterinary surgeon
The animal’s skin or fur and bird feathers must be clean prior to slaughter and free from faeces, dirt or other unhygienic substances
The animal/bird should be fed and should not be hungry or thirsty before slaughter
The animal should not be slaughtered in front of other animals and no blood seen so that no stress or discomfort has been caused to the animal
The animal should be handled gently and individually
The knife should be very sharp and clean and should not be sharpened in front of any animal before slaughter
The Muslim slaughterman says the following before slaughtering: in the name of Allah, Allah is greatest (Bismillah, Allah Akbar)
The cut to be done in the right anatomical position in the throat by cutting the two carotids, the two jugulars, the windpipe and the gullet, but without cutting the spinal cord
All blood should be allowed to be drained from the carcass
A specific time should be allowed till the animal ceases any movement
De-feathering, de-skinning and evisceration can be done afterwards
Any unlawful meat like pork should not contaminate Halal meat. Separate knives, equipment and utensils should be used for Halal meat