Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halal No!

Do you know what “Halal” means? Halal is the method for preparing food required by Islamic law. This sounds pretty benign, right? After all, Islam is a religion and religions wouldn’t do anything that we would consider barbaric, right? And besides, it’s not like you or I need to participate in this. . . or do we? Believe it or not, you may be participating in this rather barbaric practice and not even know it. And there’s more.

In the past month, two things have come to light related to the issue of Halal dietary practice. The first involves the country of England. The second involves Campbell’s soup.

A recent Daily Mail investigation has revealed that schools, hospitals, pubs, restaurants, and famous sporting venues all over England (think Wembley) are now serving food that is prepared according to Sharia law. This includes schools that boast of a “strong Christian ethos” as well as schools that have done all the trendy liberal things from banning smoking to faking environmental data to refusing to invest in anti-liberal things like weapons makers and South Africa, etc. So now they’ve gone Halal. And we're not just talking about special requests like asking for a vegetarian platter. Indeed, England’s biggest restaurant chain has admitted that three-quarters of the poultry it serves is Halal chicken (usually procured from the country of Turkey).

Here’s the kicker: they’re doing this secretly. Yep. None of these institutions has alerted the public that the food they are being served was prepared according to Islamic law. When the big restaurant chain was asked why they didn’t disclose this information to customers, their spokesman gave the following bit of doublespeak:

“It is not mentioned on any of our menus because we don’t think there is customer demand for that information. But if people started asking, then we would definitely provide it.”
In other words, they justify hiding this fact because people haven’t asked them about it. That same reasoning could be applied to justify not telling customers about the health code violations, that the beef is actually human, that the chef has leprosy, or that the kitchen staff spent the night urinating in the soup pots. Oh, so sorry, you should have asked!

But, you ask, why would customers be upset about Halal foods? Here’s why: Sharia law expressly forbids knocking animals out before they are butchered. That’s right. A Halal butcher will slit the throat of the animal while it is alive and awake, allowing the blood to drip from the body as religious phrases are recited to praise Allah.

While Islamo-apologists claim the animals are dead within two seconds, research has shown that it can take up to two minutes for the animal to die because carotid arteries can contract after being cut, sealing the severed ends and maintaining blood pressure in the brain. (A grisly report on German slaughterhouses recently found similar issues where conscious animals were butchered or dropped into super-heated water to remove the skin while alive. But that was unintentional, Halal is not.)

Notably, animal rights groups are furious and they are demanding that Halal meat be clearly labeled, something typically required for the slightest possibility of unpleasant reaction in every other instance. . . but somehow not required in this instance.

And that brings us to Campbell. Campbell Soup of New Jersey is fighting a grass-roots boycott after its Canadian subsidiary rolled out a line of soups certified as Halal. Unlike the British problem, where the Halal sourcing remains a secret, Campbell at least is open about the Halal certification -- although I see no obvious markings on the packages, and it turns out that many things like tomato sauce or Romano cheese which you would think include only vegetables are made commercially using animal parts, which were procured using Halal methods.

But there’s an even bigger catch: the organization that certifies that these soups and other products are Halal compliant is called the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the prosecution of a “charitable organization” called Holy Land Foundation, which funneled money from the United States to Hamas, a group that even the State Department recognizes as a terrorist organization.

Think about that the next time you see a Campbell’s advertisement touting their patriotism or their place in your family’s pantry. Not only are they now offering products that include meats from animals that were, for lack of a better word, tortured in the name of Allah, but they have hired an organization with terrorist links to certify that the animals were properly tortured to please this bloodthirsty Allah.

Campbell, like all corporate bad guys, claims the boycott is not hurting their sales, and thus refuses to change to a non-terrorist-connected certifier. (They also claim these products will only be sold in Canada. . . at least until they change their minds.)

This is just the latest example of large corporations and their government counterparts not caring anymore about the public. They would change their entire way of doing business to avoid offending a small group like gays or environmental extremists, but forget about them being sensitive to the concerns of the public at large. In this case, these behemoth organizations have chosen to cater to the primitive practices of Muslims, even though Muslims make up only 1% of the population in the United States and 3.3% of the population in Britain. But what’s worse, they are foisting this on the rest of the public and they have chosen to deceive the other 99% of us to make that possible. Could you imagine them doing the same for a Christian group? Or could you see them standing up for some bit of traditional Americana? No. . . I can’t see that either.

Maybe it is time for a little anti-corporate populism after all.


JG said...

Wow. I had no idea what was involved in Halal, I just thought it was similar to Kosher, i.e. abstaining from pork. I'm not much of an animal lover, really, but this turns my stomach. At least the Hindus respect bovine life. Muslims don't seem to care for any at all.

Small anecdote: we had a little cookout here for the soldiers in my husband's company a few months ago. Hot dogs, naturally. The Company Commander's wife (in charge of the shindig) made sure to tell us to separate the regular hot dogs from the beef hot dogs, which were being reserved for the 3 Muslim guys "who keep kosher." (Out of the 150+ soldiers) I said it was Halal, not Kosher, but it didn't make much of a difference, and asked her if there were any practicing Jews in the company we needed to consider. She had no idea. The law of the squeaky wheel, I guess.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, When I first saw the headline, I didn't think much of it either, but I read the article and it was pretty sickening. And then to find out that in places like England, they're doing this everywhere without telling anyone what they are doing was really disturbing.

For a society that requires warning labels about the least bit of unpleasantness -- so that we can decide not to buy products made with "global warming chemicals", products made by "slave labor", products made in countries we don't like, dolphin-safe, free-range, etc., to say nothing about this practice seems pretty obscene.

I also found it interesting that food I never thought would contain "animals" (like cheese) are made from animal parts (enzymes generally) that also need to be killed the Halal way. I wonder how many vegetarians know this?

I think you're largely right about this being the squeaky wheel, but I think it's more too. If Catholics said, "We only want meals that have been blessed with Catholic holy water," I'm pretty sure everyone would ignore their demands. And if they demanded that all meat be secretly blessed by priests, the Muslims and the atheist would be outraged -- which means these companies would never even consider doing that. But somehow, these same institutions that would consider themselves too enlightened to cater to Christian beliefs will bend over backwards to cater to Muslims.

CrispyRice said...

This is really amazing, Andrew. You're right - in a world where everything is hyper-labelled at the risk of offending anyone... well, I guess we know who trumps everyone else in the "you'd better not offend me" race.

And JG, I'll bet she had no idea if there were vegetarians or vegans who wanted tofu-dogs or people who wanted low-fat turkey dogs because they were on diet, either. Amazing who gets catered to. Ugh.

JG said...

No, I agree, it's definitely a PC thing. And no one's afraid of offending Catholics anymore (Brings to mind that scene from An American Carol with the nun suicide bomber. Only funny because it has zero verisimilitude.) Is there any sort of study or statement about the number of employees in these companies who are Muslim? I just wonder if that plays a part, or if perhaps over time a good portion of the companies' debts may have been bought by Muslim groups, thus producing a source of pressure on the companies. I don't know, just spitballing.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Very true. And you know, most places will cater to things like vegetarians or people who want Kosher meals. It makes you wonder why they would allow this practice to be imposed on everyone without a word?

I thought the restaurant spokesman was very typical of the attitude they display to the public: what you don't know about isn't any of your business.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I haven't seen anything about the origin of this whole issue, so I'm not sure what brought this on.

But I would guess that since this seems to be large multinational companies and government-run institutions from a very PC British government, that this is all about political correctness and "being sensitive" to whatever group is suddenly on their radar screen. That tends to be what comes of institutions looking for people to not-offend.

It also may be cover for importing cheap meat from places like Turkey.

Why Campbell's won't just change their certifier is an even better question. There are apparently many others. But it seems to have become very typical for corporations to resist changing anything that offends the public at large until the pressure becomes unbearable.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, in terms of your husband's company commander, it's very possible that they were instructed to specifically consider the concerns of Muslim soldiers in all military-related activities. I know the military does things like that.

T_Rav said...

Finally, something I can make common cause with the animal-rights activists on! Although, I have to wonder if groups like PETA would really dare stick their necks out in this case. It's very easy to be brave and take on the system when the enemy is merely a few American corporations. Those who don't play by the same rules--not so much.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, The people who have been attacking this in England are the RSPCA. I haven't heard anything from PETA or the like, but I suspect they will probably demand that everyone go meat-free rather than fighting the issue at hand, which is simply humane treatment of animals when slaughtered.

And I too doubt that they will say much to Muslims because Muslims don't play by corporate rules or by the rule that Christians play by -- Muslims are dangerous. In fact, groups like the environmentalists and animal rights crowd have repeatedly shown that they will give up their principles when it becomes too difficult to stand by them.

Joel Farnham said...


Enviros and Peta versus Muslims. Give me five on the muslims to win.

I can't get serious about this because I grew up with farm animals and consider the current "humane" way of killing cows a stupid waste of food. Cow's brain is delicious and impossible to get now because cows are shot through the brain. It ruins it as food.

I don't think the Muslims have anything to fear from the likes of Peta. Now if it is between the Muslims and something Pelosi wants we are talking the ultimate cage fighting. That would be cool and the outcome very much in doubt.

JG said...

That's true, I'm sure it was required. The guys in question were some foreign soldiers training with our company from African/Middle Eastern countries (can't remember which specifically right now). So yes, institutionally there's a lot of pressure in the military to be hyper-sensitive to Muslims right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, On your point about not being able to buy brain anymore, it's interesting you should say that because I'm hearing more people complain these days about not being able to get things they used to get because government regulations are interfering with what kinds of meat you can get. Sometimes you can only get it with a huge label that says "not for human consumption." That's all going a little too far.

That said, however, I am in favor of treating animals humanely, and I think stunning them is probably the most humane way to kill them.

In terms of PETA v. Muslims, I would never take your bet because I'm pretty darn sure the Muslims will win that one. Heck, PETA barely succeeds against that big, politically correct wet noodle called corporate America... and they don't try to blow you up.

LL said...

I like Hebrew National hot dogs. But they advertise them as kosher. I like the Costco hot dogs even better and they're not.

I buy dolphin safe tuna, not because it tastes better but because the idea of saving a fish that thinks appeals to me.

I would NOT knowingly buy Halal anything on a matter of principle. And having people slip the process into something I eat without telling me bothers me.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, It wouldn't surprise me, especially with so many soldiers in Afghanistan and the other issues with Muslims right now that there is a heavy emphasis on "being sensitive" to Muslims.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I agree. Like you, I sometimes choose cost, sometimes quality and sometimes principles or ideas that I like to support (or to reject).

So I want to know when there is something controversial about a product. And it offends me when something as controversial as this is done without our knowledge. I'm not saying they can't have their Halal meats, but I don't want them.

It's not just the way they slaughter animals either. I don't support their religion. In fact, I find it offensive. And thus I don't want to support their religion in any way. So to do this in secret bothers me deeply.

And while I'm sure that many on the left and/or Muslims will be upset about that statement, let me point out that this is the same thing as liberals boycotting South African products in the 1980s or certain tunas or Nabisco because they were owned by a cigarette company. Also, I wonder how Muslims would react if they were secretly sold Kosher products? They would probably start blowing things up. So they have no room to complain about my desire not to participate or support their beliefs.

Joel Farnham said...


I think we have more to fear from what Peta thinks we should eat as opposed to what Halal is.

I feel the same way as you about all things Muslim. I don't like much of Muslim represents.

Halal is how food is prepared. Quite a bit of our food actually is prepared Halal. Only we don't know it, because it has been done that way for Years. Like almost since 1947. Right after WWII. We still wouldn't have known that it was prepared Halal style until some Iman actually has a chance to check to see if it conforms to Halal standards.

Now, you cook food. If you make it Halal style, it is only by accident. If some Iman comes by and states definitively that you cooked your food Halal style and it is okay for a Muslim to eat it, will you change your recipe?

Unknown said...

Andrew: It's a simple formula. The best defense is a good, well, defense. If you go out of your way to make sure that animals' throats are properly slit so they die a properly gruesome death, the Muslims won't slit your throat. At least for now, that is.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, To the extent there is coincidental overlap between our practices and Halal practices (and I'm sure there is), it does not bother me -- just as it doesn't bother me if Nancy Pelosi and I happen to use the same toothpaste.

But it would bother me if they hired Pelosi to endorse the toothpaste. Then I would probably switch brands because I don't like what the company stands for.

And coincidental overlap is a far cry from specifically setting out to create Halal foods without telling anyone, especially where those Hallal methods differ from what we've come to expect as standard practices in our food industry.

Moreover, let's not forget the religious aspect of this. I ask again, how would Muslims react if they found out that Catholic or Jewish prayers were said over their food before it was given to them or that the methods used to prepare it had to be approved by a priest or a Rabbi? They would be outraged. So why are we supposed to just accept this?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That seems to be part of the thinking in leftist circles these days -- if we appease them, then they will kill us last. Of course, history teaches the opposite, but the left never has been good at history.

As I say in one of the comments above, I suspect part of this has more to do with seeing Muslims as "the next market" and part is just political correctness, which seems to worship everything except Western cultures and ideas. . . which it disdains.

Joel Farnham said...


I really don't much care how the Muslim's react to anything.

I think we should soak our bullets in pig's blood, just to tweek them.

Having said that, I do think that food prepared specially for a dietary requirement should be marked like KOSHER food.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I agree that food should be specifically marked if it's somehow unusual -- like a dietary requirement or it contains a known allergen or something controversial. I believe in giving the public enough information to make an informed decision in all things.

On the bullets. . . let me just say that when you fight an enemy, you need to understand them. And I think we would have a lot fewer Islamic terrorists if we understood their religious beliefs and we took advantage of them. If you can't get into Muslim heaven if you are killed by something unclean, then maybe that's a good idea to introduce.

Joel Farnham said...


I have an idea. Bomb the next peace ship headed for Gaza with pig's blood in balloons. Or better yet, threaten to do so. See what happens.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Strangely, I suspect that would cause a greater outrage on the left than if you just sank the boat.

Joel Farnham said...

Would they be as upset if we had the reverend from Taxi pray over the blood?

Notawonk said...

and here i was in a fairly good mood till i read this. folks can bend over backwards for this, and in my beloved west texas, prior to a friday night football game, we now have a freakin' moment of silence instead of calling it what good west texans are actually doing: praying. i made the sign of the cross and yelled a hearty, AMEN!, when done. just to *PUNCH* the halil out of stupidity.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, LOL! I haven't thought about Jim from Taxi in years! Great show!

AndrewPrice said...

Patti! Good for you! And sorry to ruin your move. It's time that people begin to stand up to this garbage. We are a country with a history, with a culture and with traditions. And while I love adding immigrant culture to our own, I will not let them wipe our culture out in the process.

(P.S. The afternoon post will probably lift your spirits! ;-) )

Di said...

I bet that if everyone who is offended by this were to stop buying Campbell's products, they would take notice. As to Patti's comment about the "moment of silence", that is one of the things I love about NASCAR. Say what you will about the fans etc., but that group is God and Country all the way. They say a prayer before every race and in one of the prayers this season someone said "Thank you for this sport that still allows us to pray." And, this is slightly off topic, but we are talking a little bit about Islam here and this relates a somewhat- did anyone hear about the LDS (Mormon) church that was burned down in Seattle last week? It was determined that it was deliberately set but as yet I haven't heard of any suspects. I was thinking that if the building had been a mosque, there would have been an uproar and quite a bit of coverage in the media.

AndrewPrice said...

Di, I agree -- say what you will about NACAR, they really do respect America and it's traditions!

I agree about the boycott, they just need to get the word out. I think word is spreading already, but it would help if Drudge picked up the story.

I did not hear about the LDS Church, but I'm not surprised in the least. The media only cares about certain churches, just like they only care about the rights of certain religions. If it's a black church in the South, 10,000 journalists rush to the scene and demand immediate hate crime charges even before they know the cause. If it's pork thrown at the side of a Mosque, 10,000 journalists rush to the scene and demand hate crime charges. If it's a Mormon Church. . . crickets, followed by discussions about the things the left doesn't like about the Mormons.

rlaWTX said...

[1] when I was working in Fairfax, we had a couple of mostly observant Muslims. So, when we did any "let's feed the crew", they got cheese or veggie pizza and kosher hot dogs. (We didn't have any observant Jews. I asked.) But that's as far as I was going. They seemed to appreciate it.

[2] West Texas: Yeah, it's a moment of silence. BUT! There is a school district outside of town who still goes their own way (they have a strictly enforced dress code - includes guy's hair off the collar & over the ears). There is a church with a cemetary next to the football field. From that cemetery they broadcast a student praying during the "Moment". That church recently had a revival & the school had him in one afternoon - on school grounds - to speak his Christian message. Then this week, the recently retired former pastor passed away. School closed early the day of the funeral. Too many students & teachers were going to be gone anyway... They also don't have a holiday on MLK Day, but they do for Stock Show! Gotta love it!!!!
(every so often someone moves out there for the great school and then starts trying to change things, like the dress code. It doens't work.)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with trying to be considerate of people's religious beliefs. But I am saying that it's wrong to decide to foist those beliefs on the public at large without telling them. That's what's going on here.

On your point about the school in rural Texas, small town America plays by a very different set of rules than big town America. I've spent some time in a small town and they actually closed the courts for the first day of hunting season -- something that wouldn't even occur to people in the bigger cities.

Also, you put your finger on something that's bothered me for years -- people who try to join groups or move to certain areas and then change the group or area. We get a lot of that here from Californians. They ruined their own state, then they came here because Colorado was like California before they ruined it . . . and they immediately set about trying to change the laws to make it more like California. Now it's a mess.

Ed said...

Typical. I wonder how much of this is going on in the US right and we don't know about it?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I have no idea, but you have to wonder. And I doubt they'll tell us anymore than they told the Brits.

Tennessee Jed said...

Very interesting article, although nothing inspiring to add to the excellent comments previously made by others.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed. I agree, excellent comments and an interesting discussion!

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