Archive for Kosher

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 The “ancestral traditions” of ritual slaughter were justified for hygienic reasons in the past but were now outdated, he said.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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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.

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.

Jewish Lobby Wages War against Christmas, What if they Were Muslim?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by loonwatch
Christmas to be boycotted?-ReuteursChristmas to be boycotted?-Reuteurs

A new Jewish lobby is proposing a war against Christmas. Stating amongst other things,

Fliers and ads distributed among the public read, “The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity.

“You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people’s tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity.”

Imagine if a Muslim group of scholars made a similar statement, or if a Muslim lobby group waged such a campaign, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the gang at Fox News would be up in arms about how these groups are waging war on Christianity. Also notice the befuddling silence from Robert Spencerand Pamela Geller on this issue, it isn’t newsworthy if it isn’t “Mooslim.”

Jewish Lobby Wages War on Christmas Trees

A new front for religious battles: Hotels and restaurants. The “Lobby for Jewish values” this week began operating against restaurants and hotels that plan to put up Christmas trees and other Christian symbols ahead of Christmas and the civil New Year.

According to the lobby’s Chairman, Ofer Cohen, they have received backing by the rabbis, “and we are even considering publishing the names of the businesses that put up Christian symbols ahead of the Christian holiday and call for a boycott against them.”

Fliers and ads distributed among the public read, “The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity.

“You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people’s tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity.”

The Jerusalem Rabbinate also works each year to ensure restaurants and hotels receiving kosher certification from the Jerusalem Religious Council do not put up Christian symbols.

According to a senior official in the kashrut department, this is done each year consensually, but that businesses which do not meet this requirement may find their kashrut certificate revoked.

It should be noted that most of the hotels in Jerusalem and a significant part of the restaurants in the capital receive permanent kosher certification from the city’s religious council.