Tag Archives: Halal

Halal quest

17 Mar

After a heating debate on Halal products that was going on between French politicians last week (Marine Le Pen saying halal meat is on the plate of non-Muslim French, Nicolas Sarkozy claiming that the halal meat is “the issue which most preoccupies the French”), one would think Halal invasion is going on in France. Since I wasn’t able to take an insight look on the halal production and distribution in the Ile-de-France region, I decided to take a look at the nearest supermarket shelves to check the halal offer. And you know what? If I were a halal only consumer, I would stay (meat) hungry in my neighborhood.

Click on the link below to take a look at my search for halal products!

http://www.wix.com/yellenaantipleks/halal-quest

Sarkozy and Muslim community: he loves them, he loves them not

16 Mar

Nicolas Sarkozy in the Paris mosque? You must be joking.

No. Here is the picture (if you don’t believe me, believe Le Monde that published it)

Nicolas Sarkozy seems to be confused.

In the past few weeks, one could think that the current French president/candidate at the upcoming presidential elections  Nicolas Sarkozy is not fond of Islam, considering the bitter halal polemics that took place  (see here and here).
Then, all of the sudden, he paid a visit to the heart of the Muslim community in Paris, the Great Mosque, to inaugurate a memorial to Muslim soldiers died fighting for France in the First World War. The visit was also the opportunity to assure the
mosque’s rector and the French Muslim Council leader, Mohammed Moussaoui. “Our compatriots of the Muslim religion that they naturally have the right to follow their faith as any other citizen has the right to follow his religion”, affirmed the president”.

The religion he was talking about wasn’t his main preoccupation during the last five years of his presidency, of course, but he spent quite a lot of time trying to limit the freedom he was passionately talking about on Wednesday, 14 March.
In the 2010 the Islamic veil was banned from the public spaces, which provoked various reactions of Muslim –and not only-community and caused the massive protests all over the country. 2011 was marked by the his comments on multiculturalism’s failure and a debate on the Islam’s place in France. Indeed, as we could see, have become a one of key campaign themes in the wake of controversies — largely fed by the far-right — from the face veils, Muslims praying in the street to the most recent halal products.

Will one visit be enough to win back the trust of Muslim voters? Surely not, especially if Nicolas Sarkozy intends to court the voters of Marine Le Pen’s Far-right Party.

Halal meat: a hot-button issue of presidentail campaign

9 Mar

National Front leader Martine Le Pen launched the debate in February.  In her speech in Lille, the Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said “all the abattoirs in Ile-de-France sell halal”, meat slaughtered the “Muslim way”, adding  that this was being done unknown by the consumer.

Although it turned out the slaugherhouses mostly supplied local Muslim butchers and most meat sold in Paris came from further away, the halal meat is on the campaign menu of almost every presidential candidate.

With the French Prime Minister François Fillon saying recently that  “Religions should rethink about keeping traditions that don’t have much in common with today’s state of science, technology and health problems,”  to Europe1 radio, it seems that halal is the meat that feeds this presidential campaign.

But what is really Halal? 

Photo credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen

Halal in Arabic means „permissible“. In the terms of food, it would mean that the food is permissible to Islamic law. The following can’t be consumed: pork or pork by products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly, blood and blood by products, alcohol carnivorous animals, birds of prey, land animals without external ears. Halal certification is an assurance that a product has been thoroughly vetted and found to conform with Islamic Dietary Laws.  In France main Halal certifying agency are The Grande Mosque of Paris and the Mosque of Evry.

How is halal meat different from “ordinary meat”?

Halal meat means that the animal is slaughtered properly. That means that Allah’s name must be pronounced during slaughter, the instrument has to be very sharp severing the windpipe, jugular vein and carotid artery (slit at the throat, while its head is pointed in direction of Mecca). The animal must be hung upside down in order to bleed dry because blood is not halal. This kind of slaughter is accomplished by a Muslim or by the “People of the Book” (Christian or Jew). Many observers find kosher meat, that  acceptable.   Non-religious butchers on the contrary stun the animal first, saying this lessens pain.

Why Muslims don’t eat pork?

Pork belongs to the category of Haraam, an Arabic term meaning “forbidden”. In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah. It is the Qu’ran which draws the distinction between the Haraam and Halal food, and the swine is believed not to be clean, thus Haraam. Furthermore, a swine cannot be slaughtered at the neck due to its anatomy (see Halal slaughetring).


Halal, the meat of discord in Marine le Pen’s party

10 Feb

Secularism diet by Marine le Pen:  halal meat off the menu.  Yet, the biggest provider of the halal poultry in Pas-de-Calais, northern region of France, is one National Front regional councillor.

In the beginning of 2010, Marine le Pen gave up on hamburgers. At least on those made in Quick, the fast-food chain that decided to serve only Halal meat hamburgers in some of their outlets.

The president of the far-right party Front National declared that it was “the discrimination of all non-Muslim customers (…) that the “halalburgers” amounted to an “Islamic tax” on French consumers”.

In 2011 the journalist Jean-Baptiste Malet publishes the book Derriere des lignes du Front (Behind the Front lines), the result of six month reporting within the National front party. Investigating behind the Front lines, he found the biggest provider of halal poultry in the region.

The 75 years old  Paul Lamoitier, National front regional councillor,  sells some thirty tons of halal meat to the regional butchers although for his party animals slaughtered in the name of Allah, using halal methods, aren’t welcome on the supermarket shelves and on the restaurant tables.

Marine le Pen’s cabinet chief claimed that “he doesn’t see the connection between the Paul Lamoitier’s situation and the Quick halal affair”.  Still, in her campaign proposal, Le Pen clearly positions herself against the “religious communitarianism.”  Should Paul Lamoitier look for another job or another political party?