Kosher, Hallal, and Intolerance

An interesting rant at an unlikely site.

For those who follow this sort of thing, there is a slowly building “outcry” by some corners that Butterballs Turkeys are Halal. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it means that they are permissible for consumption by religious Muslims. Some people have found this offensive. The thing is, this is not the first time that the person behind this has tried to raise a firestorm about evil, nasty Halal. She did so almost exactly a year ago. At the time, her target was Cambell’s soup. I found the entire thing shocking, and wrote a little something.

When I was in elementary school, our bus driver was a religious Muslim named Ahmed. Ahmed may have been the best driver we had. One of our favorite things about Ahmed was that after a half-day on Sunday he’d let us stop at the Kosher pizza store on Amsterdam and get slices. This was a huge treat, since there was no Kosher pizza where we lived. When we were there, he’d always get a pie to take home. Like me, Ahmed couldn’t just walk into any pizza store. If his kids wanted pizza, or any food, he had to seek out special stores. Not Hallal stores – I don’t think there was any in the Bronx back then other than a butcher or two. No, Ahmad sought out Kosher. Under Hallal, Kosher certification is reliable. Not just for dairy, but meat as well. If a Muslim in New York wanted a pizza, his options were limited to the same places mine were. Not just Pizza. There may have been a Hallal burger joint somewhere, but I never knew of it.

Indeed, Hallal may be the *least* radical thing possible about traditional Islam. … It’s an example of people wanting to be able to eat what everyone else eats. If anything, it’s about assimilating into American culture, not setting apart. … This is the sort of “watering down” of Islam that the people who [hate] American culture hate. This is what they don’t *want*.

Campbell’s being Hallal is not a loss for a world slowly being “Islamafied”, but a victory for people who want to sit down and eat and be part of the same American food culture as their neighbors, their friends, and possibly even their grandfathers.

 

 

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