The Horrors of Halal

In the last couple of weeks, there have been three stories about companies selling halal products and apparently distressing some of their non-Muslim consumers.

Firstly, we have a McDonalds store in Melbourne that, shortly before Ramadan, decided to use halal meat for their products. There is a sign on the wall next to the counter that advises that the products are now halal and have been certified by some organisation but perhaps some customers may have missed it.

The fast-food chain has introduced halal products at two Melbourne restaurants, significantly boosting sales.

However some non-Muslim customers are furious they were not told their hamburger meat was slaughtered and blessed in accordance with Islamic rules laid down in the Koran.

Secondly, we have Red Rooster, a chain of fried chicken stores, that has apparently started using halal meat too. As MX report:

If Red Rooster has made the decision to make all of their chicken halal that’s appalling, because people need choice. … We think many Christians would be offended if they went into Red Rooster and had to eat halal meat. – Australian Christian Lobby spokesman David Yates

Finally, we have A Current Affair running a story about Nestle who have decided to include a stamp denoting halal certification on their products too. In this case, the stamp means that the products don’t contain pork, alcohol or non-halal meat products. Unlike the other two examples, there hasn’t been a change of product.

Not withstanding the outrage — real and manufactured — that this news has generated, it should be remembered that for each of these companies it is a commercial decision. They are seeking to capture a new market (Muslims) and expand sales of their product. In the case of the McDonalds stores, it has certainly been beneficial and they have increased sales as a result. Given companies have no obligation or responsibility other than to make a profit for their shareholders, the only possible complaint that can be made is that the decision has somehow reduced sales or they didn’t recognise the opportunity earlier.

The whole issue of halal certification is somewhat questionable but we’ll leave that for another post at another time, but suffice to say, I don’t see anything objectional about the manner in which the animals are slaughtered. They are not slaughtered in the name of the Prophet Muhammad or anything other than God alone: in the case of a chicken, a mechanical blade slices whilst a Muslim recites bismillah (in the name of God) and Allahu akbar (God is great).

However, if some Christians don’t want to eat such foods then that is their choice and we should respect it. Just as Muslims should not feel compelled to eat forbidden foods, these Christians shouldn’t feel compelled to eat halal food. In fact, Christians and other non-Muslims who feel offended by halal foods should therefore welcome the labeling of each of these products; it will make it much easier for them to know which products to avoid when shopping or looking to dine out at McDonalds.

31 comments ↓

#1 Hus on 12.01.06 at 9:29 pm

it will make it much easier for them to know which products to avoid when shopping or looking to dine out at McDonalds.

LOL good point

#2 Martijn on 12.01.06 at 10:51 pm

Very interesting, the Netherlands recently faced the same issue with the main food chain Albert Heijn. It took place during the last election campaign in ‘Albert Heijn’was forced to withdrew its selection of halal products from stores after receiving 5000 protest emails through the Party for the Animals website. The emails sharply expressed the public outrage; namely the demand of Islamic law that halal meat be produced without the use of anaesthesia when killing animals.

People were probably also offended because Albert Heijn was not clear on this issue (which I can imagine; i agree with you that people should be able to make a choice and therefore they have a right to know). And perhaps also because they found out that the Netherlands is one of the main exporting countries when it comes down to halal meat.

After the incident Albert Heijn stopped selling halal meat from animals that were not sedated. This led one of the national Muslim organizations to the conclusion that people should not buy it anymore because it did not meet the criteria for being halal.

#3 Gavin on 12.01.06 at 11:15 pm

he wider Australian community would be well served to pull its collective head in on this one. halal meat exports provide a huge chunk of Australia’s meat trade, without which many cattle and sheep farmers would not have a livelihood, just ask grain farmers who lose important markets such as Iraq

and as for Christian pastors who find this offensive to eat meat blessed in the name of God, i suggest they are 1500 years too late to introduce dietary code into their religion

I would invite them to chill out take a back rub, just like pastor ted

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6119226.stm

#4 Fatima on 12.02.06 at 12:03 am

I wonder what they will do if they find out most Nandos are actually halal as well.

#5 Shadower on 12.02.06 at 10:46 am

Yes, Nando’s has been halal for ages.

Gavin made a good point. Australia’s Halal meat trade is growing, and the city of Hume is aiming to become the center of it in Melbourne with the local council supporting it strongly considering how great it would be for the local economy.

Australia has great potential to tap into the halal trade considering the region we are in.

#6 Hus on 12.02.06 at 11:04 am

Oportos is halal too.

#7 Tobias on 12.02.06 at 8:01 pm

I want to add my voice to the ridicule of the australian christian lobby, who appear to make up religious doctrine based on the prevailing public mood.

After discarding jewish dietary law 2000 years ago, they can not issue a press release and say that it is now impermissible to eat meat blessed in the name of G-D. What sort of religion do they practice? do they read the opinion section of the daily telegraph and then make doctrine to suit the mood?

what a joke, its OK for a christian to nibble on the testicles of a swine but not to eat halal meat.

david yates needs to take a deep knee bend or a cold shower

#8 JDsg on 12.05.06 at 5:28 pm

For Australians and New Zealanders coming up north to Singapore and Malaysia on holiday, don’t get too indignant when you find out that virtually all the fast-food restaurants (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, LJS, etc.) in these two countries are all halal. You want choice? Go to a non-halal (regular) restaurant.

#9 Antiquated Tory on 12.05.06 at 9:36 pm

Two issues, one of gross stupidity and one of spirit vs letter of the law.

The objection to eating halal meat because one is Christian is imbecilic and contemptible, as has been commented upon here. I often buy meat from the couple of halal butchers here in Prague simply because it is higher quality (imported from halal slaughterhouses in Germany I expect) and because they are the only butchers in town who understand lamb, and will even bone it for me and crack the bones for stock. Don’t hold your breath asking a Czech butcher to do that.

The second issue mentioned in passing is the anaesthetized (dig my transatlantic spelling) animal for halal/kashreth. The same issue exists in the UK with kosher slaughterhouses and I believe for similar reasons: under Jewish law, the animal must be fully awake and without blemish, etc. Now, the reasons behind a lot of the Jewish slaugher laws are 1) to prevent the consumption of bad meat and 2) to slaughter animals as humanely as possible. I suspect halal operates on a similar logic. But the laws were set a long, long time ago, and if the gentiles come up with a more humane way of slaughter, shouldn’t we adopt it? (In kosher slaugherhouses there is also an issue with non-sedated animals injuring themselves, rendering their meat trefe. This is both more cruel and more wasteful than modern British or Australian slaughter methods and I cannot understand the justification for it, other than empty piety.)

#10 Amir on 12.05.06 at 9:52 pm

From my albeit limited understanding of Jewish law, I believe there is also the problem of the animal being immobalised at the time of the slaughter which violates one of the conditions for kashrut.

As for the use of anaesthetics and stunning, then my understanding is that this is allowed under Islamic law with the condition that it doesn’t cause unnecessary pain to the animal, doesn’t kill the animal and that, if the animal isn’t slaughtered, it will recover from the condition unharmed. I am not sure why some European Muslims would be objecting to this. It’s quite common, as far as I can tell, in Australian slaugterhouses for animals to be stunned using electricity before they are slaughtered.

#11 E. Mariyani on 12.07.06 at 8:01 pm

Slaughter of Animals Used for Food – summary of some rulings.

The Halal Slaughter Controvesy – summary of some scientific findings.

#12 Fallah Ur Rehman on 09.29.07 at 3:49 pm

Do not eat any type of meat or chicken except it is certified by Islamic foundation council or an Islamic recognized institutional stamp or declaration posted on shop or sticker on product etc. Mostly people says it’s Halal ,so please do not eat blindly with out considering the above declarations and authorization.

#13 Anwar on 10.23.07 at 2:22 pm

I think we should all respect each other opinions and religious beliefs. I can tell you one thing there is a blessing in hala meat. It’s just something I can’t describe. Again, I respect all religions from my heart.

#14 Jason King on 06.20.08 at 7:22 pm

I’ve only been a muslim for one year. It wasn’t easy to give up the beer (I still really miss bottled real ales) and I was worried I’d be missing out on some of my favourite foods too.

Coming from the UK where most local halal butchers are small and frankly rubbish, it was an eye-opener to see just how professional the Aussie halal butchers are. In the UK they wouldn’t know the difference between Scotch, Porterhouse and Sirloin, and they don’t tend to sell beef for roasting or sausages!

I think the difference is that in the UK the halal shops tend to market themselves only to muslims, and so they offer meats either on-the-bone or diced for curries; whereas in Australia they aim to sell to everyone so the selection is far more varied.

If I can’t get halal I’ll eat kosher but I rarely see it on offer. Except for kosher gelatin – which means I can eat some makes of marshmallow, hurrah!

It’s been a relief to find that restarants and take aways here are also moving towards using halal meat. I really appreciate it and I’m sure it makes good sense from a markerting perspective!

OK, feeling hungry now..

#15 Hiba on 12.31.09 at 10:26 am

Its really stupid how apprently christians and non-muslims seem offencded if they are served halal meat. The fact that their missing here is that Halal meat is (always) clean and trust me when they recite those blessing words, the meat wont taste diffrent!!!
Think of it, the way ‘christians and non muslims’ slaughter meat will never be up to standards as halal meat, halal meat is slaughtered in the neck, firt because the animal dosent have to die slowly (so it dosent recieve any damges if its shotten ex. broken bones, it would be difficult then to cut up and stuff) secondly, in the necky, the blood flows quicker so theres no need to wash the meat from all that blood. I believe these reasons are enough for you people to understand :) Our meat will never cause a problem to you, but your meat (pork, or lamp) is dirty for us, and when you get logical, its dirty for you too! Hopefully you understand my fellow non-muslims and christians .

#16 Hiba on 12.31.09 at 10:39 am

And one more thing :) the previous comment for ;JDsg

[[[For Australians and New Zealanders coming up north to Singapore and Malaysia on holiday, don’t get too indignant when you find out that virtually all the fast-food restaurants (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, LJS, etc.) in these two countries are all halal. You want choice? Go to a non-halal (regular) restaurant.]]]

Made me laugh histerically at his STUPIDNESS :P why would you go to a DIRTY, DISGUSTING resturant, that has meat standtards treated like sh*t (excuse me) when youd rather be at a peaceful, trusted store where you know that the meat there NO MATTER WHAT WILL ALWAYS BE THE BESTTTTTT! FOR YOU AND THAT IT HAS BEEN DELICATLEY TAKEN CARE OF JUST SO YOU CAN EAT IT! like seriously! you know that thing in peoples head (unless its empty ;) the one that you think with:D YEAH HOW ABOUT USING THAT FOR LIKE JUST THIS ONCE

And a message to all muslims, my dear bro&sis’s you guys should be more than happy&proud to eat at a HALAL store, you will always have confidence an trust that your meat is at the highest standards :D lmao

#17 Yobbo on 01.13.10 at 3:36 am

I thought for meat to be Halal it can’t even be prepared or served in the same premises as pork products. Or is that Kosher? I’m not really sure either way.

The only thing that disappoints me about this is the increased likelihood of not being able to buy bacon McMuffins any more. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Malaysia and turkey bacon just isn’t the same.

BTW there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to find out, and that is what is the Islamic position on whale meat?

#18 JDsg on 01.13.10 at 2:56 pm

@ Yobbo: If by “premises” you mean in the same room where non-halal foods are prepared in areas cordoned off from halal food preparation areas (say, by hawker stall walls), then, yes, the food remains halal. The real problem is when halal and non-halal foods are both prepared in the same area (e.g., on the same table and with the same utensils). That would be haram.

As for whale meat; that is halal; see my post on the hadith of the whale.

#19 Yobbo on 01.30.10 at 5:39 am

That’s interesting JDsg. The reason I ask is because I tried whale bacon in Japan and it was quite tasty and a lot closer in flavor to real bacon than the substitute bacon you often get in muslim countries (i.e. beef, chicken or turkey bacon).

It would be interesting to see how popular whale meat would be around the world if it wasn’t such a politically delicate food source.

One of the great hardships i faced in my time in Malaysia was not being able to get bacon+egg mcmuffins in McDonalds. And in fact that’s my one great fear about Halal restaurants here – but if what you say about being able to prepare bacon in the same restaurant as Halal food is sold is true then I have nothing to worry about. I think I must have been thinking about Kosher food laws which seem to be much more stringent.

#20 megg on 09.22.10 at 9:01 am

Its an uneducated view to think that christians do not eat Halal meat simply because, we dont like it. we do not worship the same God as muslims they worship allah. christians worship God the one true God. Eating food that was sacrificed before an Idol is strictly forbidden Luke 8. when jesus came he declered all meat Good so as christian we can eat Kosher meat, as Jews worship the same God as Christians, but have turned there back on the son jesus christ who died for our sins. He was the ultimate sacrifice. john 3.16.
if muslims feel they want to eat halal good luck to them maybe one day God will touch thier hearts and free them from captivity. But as Christians it is FORBIDDEN. Do not kick dirt in the Lords face he died for a reason, so that we may be saved throgh him and only through him. Amen God Bless all.

#21 jamilah on 10.13.10 at 11:06 pm

megg:

So are you implying that Muslims don’t worship ONE god? Or are you one of those stupid, uneducated fools out there who think Islam is a pagan religion where their followers pray to a moon-god and dance around idols at night?

Please, read up on Islam and the halal slaughtering method before sharing your unenlightened opinions with us.

You don’t even realise ‘Allah’ is a name for ‘God’, just like how ‘Yah Weh’ is a name for ‘God’. No one is ‘kicking dirt in the lord’s face’ here. Strawman arguments are SO not in season right now.

#22 megg on 10.19.10 at 10:34 pm

No I am not implying that muslims don’t worship one God I am implying that you don’t worship the same God as the christian and jew God the God of Abraham and isreal and of Jesus (yeshua) the only Son of God. I know all about islam thank you. I understand ur argument howver the early muslims used to pray a number of times a day and pray facing mekkah and do all the same practices that the muslims of today do and they where worshipping idols. Google it its not far from reach. There’s to many flaws I respect muslims I have muslim friends but wen it comes to religion I don’t belive that we are all worshipping one God no. How can we wen muslims don’t belive in the crucifixtion of christ and that God sent his son to die for the world. John 3.16. We all sinners and God loves us and is forgiving we are coming to the end of days don’t turn ur back on God and the truth. Even jews now are slowly realising that yeshua is the messiah and are called messanic jews. While there is still life there is hope. Take your time . I ask God to Bless u and Guide u in your journey to the truth. Amen. Remeber deception is similar to the truth. Don’t be decived.

#23 HRD77 on 10.20.10 at 9:36 am

most australian beef and lamb is halal because the export trade is much more important financially to the whole supply chain from feed and grain to cattle and sheep producers, agents, cattle yards, feed lots, auction houses, transport companies, labour, suppliers, abbatoirs (the list goes on). even though only a small amount of what we see in Oz is certified halal, in reality most of the meat is. so if anyone has any complaints dont take it up with the muslim community take it up with all the industries listed above.

#24 Muhammad Eusha on 11.23.10 at 1:50 pm

It’s funny. I am amused by Megg’s comments on Islam. It is also funny how you have been convinced by the laws and theories of christianity. However, your lack of knowledge is profoundly displayed by your comments. I therefore suggest you read more before you make comments. Moreover, you should probably leave the arguing to christian men (I’m assuming you’re a woman). Women aren’t capable of arguing.

You don’t know either about christianity or about islam! If you knew, you would have become a muslim right away. You need more study and real knowledge instead of superficial stuff. :)

You can talk to me if you want. I’ll answer your questions. But remember, you must ask questions with the goal of a person who is seeking the truth. If you are seeking arguments for pleasure, Allah doesn’t show the right path to people who follow their fighting instincts.

And beware! Allah has no sons! God has no sons! He doesn’t have a wife either. Remember that one of the most lethal mistakes human beings make is they think God is like them. :) He isn’t.

#25 ayesha on 12.01.10 at 4:32 am

Meg, I don’t mean to offend you… but I actually laughed out loud ALOT when I read your post.

The reason why Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are grouped together under the umbrella of “monotheism” is because we all believe in the same merciful God. One God. The same God.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. Just so you know, Muslims also believe in Jesus, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, John the Baptist and most other “Christian” prophets you can think of. The reason for this is that… Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all Abraham religions!!!! In most prayers that praise the prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him), we praise Abraham too!!

The problem with your argument is that you have made one fundamental mistake. You have assumed that you and your Muslim friends know all that there is to know about Islam… guess what, none of you do… religions are such complex things that most people who have read “Google articles” about them have just scratched the surface. And I don’t mean this in an offensive way, as someone who has been born and raised a Muslim, who has studied the religion; I can honestly say that there are vast areas that I have yet to fully comprehend (like the intricacies of inheritance).

So relax, no one is trying to kick sand in anyone’s face (even if we don’t believe that Jesus is the son of God) because… if you think about it there are many many Christians that don’t believe it either. Modern Christian nontrinitarian groups and denominations include Christadelphians, Christian Science, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah’s Witnesses, some groups in the Latter Day Saint movement, Oneness Pentecostalism, Unitarianism, and United Church of God.

#26 megg on 12.08.10 at 11:58 pm

I quiet respect the work ethic of muslims and the way they pray I am in no way insulting islam. But the comment God has no sons is far fetched. As God does have a Beggotten son. U see as human we cannot be without sin living on this earth. So how is possible that muslims belive jesus was a prophet with no sin only God can be sinless no one else. Jesus was a divine being who came to die for our sins and the sooner you belive in him the earlier ur realtionship with God will become closer. Remember christianity judasiam and islam are just religions u can only be saved through ur faith and Grace of God only through his begotton son.meaning I can be a christian through birth but am not behaving christ like. God bless all may he open your eyes in Finding the truth. Jesus died for a purpose to save all our souls he was the ultimate sacrifice. In the days of abraham the used to sacrifice all the time a consolidtion for sin. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice! No more burnt offerings!

#27 Mary on 01.28.11 at 1:41 pm

Muslims believe that all prophets were sinless. They made mistakes but they never sinned. That is how God willed it to be. They were created pure by the grace of god. Then think again is it really important that Jesus is the son of god or his prophet? I personally don’t think so. What is important is his message, the message of all prophets of God. Please don’t respond by saying something like you can only find salvation through Jesus or something like that. This sentence can be true if you look at it in another way. Salvation lies in believing that the prophets of the one and only God, like Jesus, existed and in believing in their message. All of our three religions have at some point been infiltrated by evil. Clergy who added, removed, emphasized, downplayed and interpreted parts of the religion to use the faith as a weapon, as a tool of power. These evil clergy breath hate towards the other two faiths and try ever so hard to make these three main Ibrahimic religions seem so different while they are ever so similar to keep their congregations together and them in power. What is important is the message not quotes within our religious teachings that tell us only Christians or Muslims or Jews or Catholics or Protestants or…. will find salvation. These messages are only trying to divide us, keep us at each other’s throats and keep us swayed from the truth of our faith, the truth that can only be found in the depths of our hearts and the core of our three religions. By comparing the three you can find where each has gone wrong. In the end the core message of the Ibrahimic religions is true or one big lie. So I think instead of hating Muslims Christians should be happy to eat the meat of a people who also believe in the God of Jesus. They usually don’t have a problem eating the meat of nonbelievers in places like Thailand. They also wouldn’t mind eating Kosher meat (Jewish meat), which by the way is prepared in exactly the same way as Halal meat. It is amazing how the rules for Halal and kosher match.

#28 eib on 02.01.11 at 7:41 am

I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and true devotion to God, not burnt offerings.
Hosea wrote it.
Jesus said it.
God intended it.
As for Islam– Ye shall know them by their fruits.
And we know you.

#29 eib on 02.01.11 at 7:43 am

The “ignorant” should be silenced?
Not a very democratic way of life.
Not a very respectful or humanistic perspective.
Your wish to silence the infidel has provoked my contempt.

#30 Mulla on 12.14.11 at 10:23 am

The only concern i have about Halal meats getting famous is that this means that we will get lesser Pork and Bacon! Why cant the Halal butchers do Pork and Bacon as well? This will solve a lot of issues. Like i read… we adopt a little and the Halal butchers adopt a little! Win – Win!

#31 JDsg on 01.07.12 at 11:12 pm

@ Mulla: It doesn’t work that way. See my comment #18 above. A halal butcher would have to have separate facilities if (s)he wished to work with pork products. I doubt very many would wish to go to that expense or trouble.

Trust me, your life won’t come to an end once you kick your addiction to pork and bacon.

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