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Muslims are taking over the country! One restaurant at a time…

Background

Despite an eventful news week full of murderous maniacs on the loose in London [1], 19,000 Barclays employees getting the boot [2] and a few international crises to top it off [3][4], those attention-seeking Muslims seem to be at it again, filling our front pages, timelines and radio talk shows with this halal meat non-issue.  Again.

The seemingly random alliances of radically different disenfranchised segments of society against Islamic symbols or practices is becoming somewhat of a lingering annoyance.  Whether it be what Muslims wear [5], where they choose to sit [6][7] or what they eat, haters of different aspects bring their own respective ignorant presumptions and fallacious arguments together to produce a compounded dog’s breakfast of an attack against something Islamic.

Although this latest offering by the Sun [8] and its ilk has been dismissed and ridiculed by a large number of people [9] [10] through the revolutionary, democratised online media machine that the news corporations hate [11], I do believe that some fallacies or incorrect presumptions need to be clearly tackled just in case any well-meaning readers have been duped.

This halal meat fiasco has two separate elements to it: (i) the halal meat creeping into restaurant menus; and (ii) the incorrect presumption that slaughtering an animal is more cruel than “stunning” by electrocution, drowning, bashing it over the head, or whatever else is in vogue.  This article will deal with the first element, and the second will be addressed in another article, inshā’Allāh.

Muslims are taking over the country!

Just like there are some people who try and turn any current debate into something about the EU, and there are some people who masterfully spin any news story into an issue of immigration, likewise there are those who manage to interpret practically anything into some kind of Muslim takeover plot.  This group are sometimes so gullible that even a fabricated document has been shown to cause a lasting scandal in Birmingham [12].

Muslims are not trying to take over abattoirs, or restaurants, or schools.  In fact, over the decades, abattoirs all over the world have adopted increasingly more and more ‘halal-esque’ practices in the way they prepare meat—for hygiene purposes out of their own volition.  Therefore, the only thing different between the halal meat available at places like Pizza Express, KFC and Nando’s, is that it is done by a Muslim, who says something like: “With the name of Allāh,” before slaughtering the animal.  Everything else is practically the same up until that point—for example, the animals are still stunned before slaughter, as has been explicitly stated by these restaurants, time and time again [13].

Now, knowing that the halal meat served at these restaurants is exactly the same as non-halal, apart from the fact that it is slaughtered by a Muslim who mentions Allāh’s name before doing so, ask yourself what kind of people would be trying so eagerly to provoke hysteria around this (non-)issue.  Some of the instigators, when confronted with the above uncomfortable fact, claim to be complaining about the lack of labelling.

I would appreciate this coming from a religious or spiritual person who believed that uttering a name of God could have some kind of metaphysical effect on the meat.  However, it seems that most critics are coming at this from a purely secular, material angle, which—to me at least—suggests a blinding hatred of Islam and/or Muslims.  Would it effectively be the same as wanting meat slaughtered by a black person to be labelled as such?  Why would someone care about the name of a Deity—that they don’t even believe in—being mentioned before their meat was prepared?

When cornered with that uncomfortable fact, the people from this camp then tend to go down another route of arguing, which is where they overlap with the second category of halal-critics: the [deluded] animal welfare army.  So, they used the story of pre-stunned halal meat in Pizza Express as a chance to talk about something completely different: the rare, exclusive few percentile of non-stunned halal animals available in selected butchers.  I think that’s called opportunism.

As mentioned above, the incorrect presumption that slaughtering without stunning the animal is more painful to the animal (rather than to squeamish human beings), will be addressed in a future article, inshā’Allāh.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/04/skull-cracker-armed-robber-on-the-run-_n_5264181.html

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27321589

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27320806

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27323790

[5] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/ch4-niqab-debate-islamophobe-panellists-exposed/

[6] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/segregation-and-the-useful-idiot-paradigm/

[7] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/can-you-blame-muslims-for-wanting-to-segregate/

[8] http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/5612373/Halal-secret-of-Pizza-Express.html

[9] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/07/pizza-express-halal-debate_n_5279050.html

[10] http://newsthump.com/2014/05/07/halal-protesters-to-draw-line-at-boycott-of-favourite-curry-house/

[11] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/21/mail-on-sunday-food-bank-twitter

[12] https://www.islam21c.com/special/the-hypocrisy-of-the-muslim-school-takeover-plot-that-never-was/

[13] http://metro.co.uk/2014/05/07/its-no-secret-pizza-express-hits-back-at-media-claims-over-use-of-halal-meat-4720204/

About Dr Salman Butt

Salman studied Biochemistry at Imperial College London followed by a PhD in Chemical Biology, carrying out research into photosynthesis. During his years at university he became involved in Islamic society da'wah and activism, and general Muslim community projects. He is the Chief Editor and a regular contributor at Islam21c, and also has a blog on the Huffington Post.

5 comments

  1. I never realised how racist and anti-Islamic this country is until I moved here. These people are here legally and have the right to live how they want to. Just because there are terrorists who use Islam as a doctrine to justify their hateful acts, does NOT mean that every Islam wants to change Britain to Sharia Law, kill the gays and put all women in burkas! These people are being judged and punished for the actions of others that have nothing to do with them, simply because they are of the same religion. Do you judge Germans in the same way because their country committed genocide? Or the Irish if they are from an area where religious conflict was particularly violent? No. Seems like thinly veiled racism to me, not the ‘staunch upholding of British rights against religious extremists’ as you all seem to espouse. What do people mean when they talk about ‘multiculturalism’? If a lot of people come from a foreign country and settle in a particular area they will bring the culture of that country with them. Of course they will want their schools to promote their values. Gender segregation is everywhere in the Muslim world including in EU applicant, Turkey, so either we believe in Britain as multicultural or we don’t. You don’t get to pick and choose the bits you want. Why not sit down with parents and listen to their concerns, instead of ordering an investigation? Shocked at this terrifying witch hunt against Muslims who are simply trying to raise standards. Its totally unacceptable to create a furore in the country over anonymous accusations with no proof. Because it is a divisive move and will affect community relations. This is the very reason why society does not function properly, this is a deliberate attempt to spread fear amongst communities, as the best way to control a nation is through fear itself. because this is NOT ,,I repeat is NOT an Islamic plot to take over Birmingham, so DO NOT put false information in the media to put Muslims down!!!!! What next…..Muslims taking over hospitals, banks, pubs….come on… Tomorrow, a Pakistani MP would become the PM of GB and this does not mean that the country has become a colony of Pakistan.

    You guys can eat anything even pigs that roll in their own filth but you wont eat HALAL which is clean meat. You know, the bible also says you shouldn’t eat pork as it is ‘unclean’…..just saying for all of you stating this is a Christian country. Bit of course it’s nothing to do with the meat, it’s just another excuse to have a pop at Muslims isn’t it. I for one am proud to live in a multicultural society and am glad that my child is growing up in one. I would hate for her to grow up as a little Englander with a hateful, narrow view of the world and frightened of anything even remotely different to her. Pork is banned in the Christian religion. Read the bible and find out. Stop this vendetta against Halal meat……how many will get an Asian / Indian halal curry after a night Boozing! And as usual I bet the Muslim parents wouldn’t have an issue with pork etc as long it was served n cooked separately to the Halal food which would also apply if catering for vegetarians and non vegetarians!!

    British Muslims have every right to be catered for. They are as British as the rest. I think people are worried in case the ritual prayers are in fact spells which will turn them all into Muslims. This week’s row has got nothing all to do with animal welfare. The fuss is about people’s fears over the covert Islamification of society. You may or may not agree that concerns are realistic or even legitimate, but food suppliers and others concerned ought not to deny that it is an issue or answer criticisms honestly. I don’t think eating halal meat actually turns you into a Muslim. This time it is aimed at Muslims. However assaults on ritual slaughter have a long history in terms of European anti-Semitism. This is just more of the same, prejudice dressed up as concern for animal welfare.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust

  2. Jazak Allahu Khair Dr Salman- Very grateful for your piece- i am looking forward to your next article. Please do post it soon

  3. Brilliant article – best ive read on the topic. Ive seen this article on the huffington post too masha Allah.

  4. Native Brits must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. The needs and demands of the Muslim community are different from those of natives. Muslims are in Britain not to give up their cultural heritage. They must integrate in their new home country, learn new languages and apply for political representation — without forgetting their cultural heritage. It is important to learn Standard English, but their languages should not be neglected. They need Masajid and grave yards.

    Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This means the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islamic teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that ‘education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.’ The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes – it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust

  5. Excellent analysis.

    There is another angle to come from – the news should not be focussing on “halal” and “Muslims” per se, the attention should be on the companies which are are *choosing* to use halal meat. The fact that the discourse is all around what halal is and how Muslims murderously slaughter “living” chickens, and those that do it are somehow Boko Haramites (according to the BBC), reinforces the notion of negative targeting of the Muslim minority.

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