Islamic law prevents muslims consuming certain foods and requires food to be prepared in a certain way. Halal is simply an Arabic word meaning permitted or lawful. Applied to food, it is the dietary standard as prescribed in the qu’ran.

Halal certification is the process of inspection and certification that a food product meets sharia law. The manufacturer pays for the certification. Some are of the view that the money paid for certification might go to fund religious terrorist activities. This claims seems to be made without any actual evidence and seems unlikely where the manufacturer has a choice of certification companies - although not impossible.

Unlike some food certifications there are no particular health concerns addressed by Halal certification. And certification contributes nothing to food labeling.

Food manufacturers are obliged to be Halal certified to sell their products in certain markets. And this is my first objection. To discriminate against a company based on a religious criteria is undesirable and possibly illegal depending on the jurisdiction.

My second objection is that the certification places an unnecessary and unwanted cost on production. Some have likened it to a religious tax. At least one certification company openly admits funding mosques with the ‘halal’ tax.

My final objection is that the certification normalises religious nonsense. It is evidence of a creeping religiosity that is both threatening and relentless in it’s advance into western society.

What is your response to Halal certification?

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And certification contributes nothing to food labeling.

Except for muslims... who want to be able to check packaging for halal certifications so they know whether or not something is halal.

Food manufacturers are obliged to be Halal certified to sell their products in certain markets

Any market with muslims in it, yes... because muslims actively seek out halal certifications and won't buy products without halal certification.

My second objection is that the certification places an unnecessary and unwanted cost on production.

So, buy the uncertified, cheaper, alternative.

My final objection is that the certification normalises religious nonsense.

I certainly agree! However the issue is with the people who buy into the religious nonsense, not the companies purchasing halal certification (it's just a business decision to increase market penetration).

The two things that bug me about Halal food relate to animal abuse and to unknowlingly buying Halal meat.

Animals must be killed by a quick and penetrating cut of the throat. In some countries they are obliged to stun the animal (in which case this point is mostly moot) though not in all countries and even in the European Union animals are given a gruesome death in order to make Halal meat. Non-stunned animal butchering has been made illegal in most of Northern Europe. That doesn't mean that non-Halal meat by non-muslim butchers don't treat their animals badly (Eastern European countries have very laxed laws on horrid animal conditions). However most EU countries mark their meat on a grade scale where A and even B meat meets "best practices" which prohibit animal abuse. In a case of terrible policy, some countries are weary of passing laws which force the production of halall meat to "stun the animal" as Christian and Jewish communities have their own special privelages in avoiding an otherwise universal law. Cracking down on non-stunned animals can be taken as an attack against the practices of a marginalised minority and possibly as playing favouritism with the other communities. Meanwhile animals suffer needlessly.

The second reason is, some meat companies in cosmopolitain cities (especially in France) simply make all of their meat Halall as it is more efficient to do so instead of making two separate batches (those who like their animal carcass with an animal who met a gruesome painful end, and those who have no qualms eating animal muscle but prefer the animal to be knocked out before decapitation).

The Halal certification is an arbitrary standard. If we as a society accept this arbitrary standard are we obliged to accept all arbitrary standards?

For instance some religions believe women are unclean. Would we accept a certification that no women handled these profucts?

What do you mean by "accept a certification"? Do you mean that we accept that some people want it? (they do) or do you mean that we accept that the certification is required? (it's not)

are we obliged to accept all arbitrary standards?

This sounds dangerously close to a slippery slope fallacy. If you disagree with requiring a halal certificate, then don't buy halal... I don't see the problem.

Imagine what it must be like to belong to a religion that controls every aspect of your life. Islam wakes you up before sunrise to begin one of five obligatory prayer rituals that continue throughout the day. It controls the length of you facial hair, alcohol consumption, right to drive a car, with whom you walk with in public, how you dress, the music you can or cannot listen to, what you can read, how you must be buried………and then even your diet is controlled.

If you disagree with any of those rule who can be tried for blasphemy or apostasy by a court made up of religious judges, appointed by a government built entirely around the Islamic faith and who will allow very little leeway to any of it subjects in how they conduct themselves.

Islam is not so much about submission as it is about control and brainwashing.

Then imagine that because you did not consider yourself to be a slave to the dogma of your religion that you thought it would be a great idea to export it to the rest of the world. Your thought it would be great to get everyone else to submit to your god because you though your god was great. And every time you ate your dinner you gave thanks to your imaginary friend and master for giving your properly killed animals to eat.

Wallonia (the french part of Belgium) has unanimously voted to ban animal slaughter without the animal being stunned. Naturally two religious groups have not only gone up in arms about it...but in fact are screaming "it's all about us" ... as though it is impossible for a country to ban a cruel practice to animals without it really being about prejudice, racism and religious repression. "It's all just an attack on Muslims and Jews" Except of course for the fact that ritual lamb slaughter was banned a long time ago....and yet it wasn't taken as an attack on Christians. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/belgian-region-wallo...

Apparantly, this isn't just an affront the Jewish citizens of Belgium, it is in fact a direct attack on them, the worst since the Nazi Genocide by not letting them kill animals by slicing their throars (a practice where you painfully kill many creatures by the thousands). It will make people more anti-semitic and it is a message to Jewish people "you don't belong in Belgium".

Once the drama dies down...i think most people will forget the religious connection because it was never about religion but instead not allowing animals to suffer needlessly. That "not allowing people's religious superstitions to trump progressive laws" is simply a part of the Belgian constitution and is a secondary afterthought...and it applies to all laws...not just cutting open an animals throat without stunning it. Switzerland and other European countries have banned it and you don't see Anti-semitism and islamophobia increasing because of it.

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