Is Halal on Trial?


How much explaining is enough?

How much defending is required?

How much convincing is satisfactory?

Have Muslims become apologists? Do Muslims need to look at their reflection, and ask, what more needs to be done to inform the ignorant, overcome inflamed passions, and eradicate decisiveness that is tearing apart an already fragile eco-system of race relations?

Have selected non-Muslims become prosecutor, judge, jury and hangman? Do the non-Muslims need to give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt on hearing them out as their fore-fathers asked as immigrants? The native American Indians and Aborigine are the only natives in US and Australia.

Is food and finance a basis for division, hate, and clash of the ignorant?

What if…

What if all pork and alcohol, linked to food and drink, was removed from Muslim countries, how would the non-Muslim residents/ex-pats react? Furthermore, what if the comments from a small, but vocal Muslim minority claimed the non-Muslims are trying to secularize their ‘Islamic Republic’ and introducing, through the back-door, cultural domination and conversion to their way of life?

Sounds far-fetched.

Now, lets change the Muslim country to a non-Muslim country, like Australia, France or US, and replace pork/alcohol with ‘halal’ food/drink. A small, but vocal minority of non-Muslims want to removed all vestige of halal food, Muslims and Islam from their country as its inconsistent to their way of life. Why?

Is this the clash of the knee-jerk uncivilised?

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Cory Bernardi’s anti-halal crusade unleashed torrent of hate,’ June 20, 2015.

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi's inquiry into halal food has attracted a flood of hateful and sometimes downright bizarre submissions. A month after Senator Bernardi successfully set up a Senate committee inquiry into the "third party certification of food", the probe has already attracted 220 written submissions from the Australian public… While the inquiry is supposed to look at all kinds of food certification – including kosher, organic and genetically modified – the overwhelming majority focus squarely on halal.

The Muslim way of life is on trial in a number of non-Muslim countries, and focus of ‘conflict’ is on the ‘twins separated at birth,’ Islamic finance and halal food.

Allegations

A sampling of the allegations, from the above mentioned article, by the anti-shariah and halal-hysteria includes:

Islamic finance and halal certification body fees funds terrorism!

Comment: To date, not one Islamic bank or certification body has been closed down for funding extremism. Furthermore, when was the last time, you read a statement from an extremist that all proceeds from activities like stolen oil, looting of artifacts, selling drugs, are in interest-free bank accounts. Finally, the food served to their followers are halal, and, yet, imported from countries like Australia, US, etc.

‘Others complain that halal certification forces up the price of food, labeling it a "Muslim tax". That's despite food retailers saying halal brings down the price of many foods because it increases the market and opens up new export destinations. The actual cost of certification to food suppliers is typically modest and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned of huge financial harm if Australia's meat industry dropped halal certification.’

‘Others complain about how halal food robs them of their freedom to choose to eat what they want.’

Comment: People must be allowed to make informed decisions, hence, labeling is as important as disclosing ingredients. Now, some companies may be ‘gun-shy’ to include the halal label on their product, why? Political sensitivities? Such omissions have a blow back to Muslims! Should the government intervene?

‘Many seem to believe Australia is being overtaken by Islam, even though Muslims make up only 2 per cent of the population. They see halal food as a step towards oblivion…Before we know it sharia law will have been introduced into our country and all our fundamental rights as Australian citizens will cease as we know them now…’

Comment: Why would 2% of the population, and not all Muslims want halal, undermine a democracy and constitution when many fled their home countries for these rights!

‘The comments become even more bizarre, including, ‘if you eat halal food, you will become a Muslim…

Comment: If halal food makes you into a Muslim, then either your faith is not strong or food is not tasty.

‘Some seem to be under the misapprehension that non-Muslims are not allowed to eat halal food…’

Comment: Where did this misapprehension come from and why does it continue to be repeated?

As a FYI- Muslims are allowed to eat pork if to save their life, it does not mean they have left Islam.

‘Islam is a "vile medieval cult", while another labels the Prophet Muhammad a "false god" and "Paedophile.’

Comment: People fear what they do not understand or don’t want to understand. Masses can also be misled if the text is out of context by as an agenda driven media is GPSing the message.

‘Another says Islam is an ideology based on jihad, sexual slavery and intolerance that has brought "havoc" to the world. A number of contributors identify Islam as a "death cult", showing Prime Minister Tony Abbott's colourful language about Islamic State is being adopted by people with a more general antipathy to the religion.’

Comment: Yet, the number of converts (some say reverts) to Islam is growing globally, hence, there must be an emotional and spiritual appeal.

Furthermore, there needs to be a more comprehensive understanding of the word ‘jihad,’ which is an internal struggle to become a better person. Furthermore, Muslims have committed more violence against fellow Muslims than against non-Muslims.

Conclusion

‘Islamic’ extremists and anti-Islamic ‘extremists’ have more in common than they both realize. They have both attempted to hijack Islam according to their misinterpretations of texts out of context. Om Nestle to Unilever to

Surely food and finance cannot be the spark of the clash of titans, unless food is hoarded (spark of the Arab Spring) and finance is usurious (Occupy Wall Street)!

Halal is on trial in the kangaroo court of public opinion in non-Muslim countries, and companies profiting from sale of halal products, from JBS to Nestle to Unilever, need to lead against the mis-information campaign.

What more can companies, profiting from halal products, do to reduce inflamed ignorance?

Rushdi Siddiqui is Co-founder & CEO of zilzar.com and zilzarlife.com

@rushdisiddiqui


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