Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 03 November 2010
Operation Nehemiah: stopping the spread of halal
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
Operation Nehemiah: stopping t...
The halal controversy
Barnabas Aid, October 2010
I don't object to people of different religious groups being catered for but it's not something that should be imposed on everybody else. The vast majority of people in this country would not want meat of this origin. The outlets have a duty to let their customers know because some will object very strongly, not least because of the animal welfare implications of halal.
Many recent incidents have raised the issue of the appropriate place of halal food and other products in Western societies, and in the UK in particular. Its increasingly widespread use by retail outlets and restaurants, often without the approval or even the knowledge of customers, has caused widespread disquiet. Consumers are being denied the possibility of choice because they are not given the necessary information to make a decision. The practice of slaughtering animals by halal methods has also been called into question on ethical grounds.
So there are four principal reasons why many Christians and others are concerned about the increased presence of halal products:
- The denial of choice to consumers, unless food is labelled and alternatives provided
and following from this:
- The commitment of many Muslims to Islamic mission (da‘wa) and the Islamisation of their non-Muslim host societies, which includes the imposition of Islamic practices on non-Muslims, and of which halal food is a major instrument
- The cruelty to animals allegedly involved in halal-compliant methods of slaughter
- For Christians in particular, the Biblical teaching on the eating of foods associated with non-Christian religious practice and its spiritual and social effects within the Christian community
In this paper we shall first explain the nature and significance of the halal regulations for Muslims, both in their sacred texts and in the contemporary world. We will then examine the three of the concerns above and draw out their possible implications for the Christian conscience. (The Biblical teaching will be considered in a future article.) Finally we shall offer some recommendations for a Christian response to the issue.