The word HALAL simply means “Permissible”. Most non-Muslims mistakenly assume that it applies only to food, however it can be used of anything that is permissible for Muslims. That which is not “Permissible” is designated as “Haram”.
In the UK there has been a growing trend for restaurants and non-Muslim food outlets to seek Halal certification. This has prompted a number of outlets to source meat products from Halal meat suppliers. This means that the animals must be slaughtered ritualistically.
The traditional method of slaughter is for the animal to be secured tightly and to be cut across the throat with a sharp knife as the ritual blessing is pronounced. This has caused great concerns in the non-Muslim world with regards to animal welfare, especially with regards to animals being slaughtered without being stunned. There are a growing number of campaigns to prohibit the ritual slaughter of animals that are not stunned before slaughter. A number of abbatoirs that practice Halal slaughter now practice stunning, however there are traditionalists that reject the practice of stunning. A group of Non stun Abattoir owners have formed an Association of Non Stun Abattoirs (ANSA). ANSA aims to create and raise awareness of the halal industry “according to the teaching of the Quran and the prophetic tradition.”
In an article by Halal News ANSA is quoted :
The ANSA logo will give them assurance that the meat they will be consuming is truly halal and is ritually halal slaughtered according to Islamic principles.” Mrs Khan house wife from Birmingham Said “When was the last time you checked with your Butcher that meat they are selling you… is stunned or non-stunned? Just because you are buying from a trusted Muslim butcher, does not means it was ritually slaughtered or is Halal according to the Sunnah of the prophet (PBUH)” Ejaz Najib (Director M. Najab and sons) Vice Chair said” The halal word is most misused word in the UK for labeling of meat and poultry, ANSA will be able to offer cleans and wholesome product that the Muslims community wants”.
According to certain Islamic authorities the correct method of slaughter is:
1) Its recommended that animals / birds should be treated gently and not be tortured or mistreated
2) The foremost condition is that the phrase ‘Bismillahi Allahu Akbar’, is recited (audibly) on each animal (just ‘Bismillah’ would suffice too) by the slaughterer while slaughtering by hand; if the phrase is not mentioned intentionally then the meat will be impermissible
3) The individual who is slaughtering should be a practicing Muslim who is adult, mentally sound and knowledgeable of the Islamic slaughtering procedures and should make the intention to slaughter
4) The animal/bird should be alive or deemed to be alive and fully conscious before slaughtering
5) The knife / blade used to slaughter the animal should be sharp and should be used swiftly to slaughter
6) The knife should cut 4 things in one horizontal cut (vertical cut is not permissible): the windpipe (trachea), gullet (esophagus), the jugular vein and the carotid artery. It will suffice if any 3 of the 4 pipes are severed. The slaughterer should not cut off the neck or cut the spinal cord (If the spinal cord is cut then the nerves get damaged leading to cardiac arrest which results in stagnation of blood in the blood vessels – if cut by accident the animal is still Halal to eat).
7) The blood of the animal has to be allowed to drain after slaughtering and before skinning. (This purifies the meat by removing most of the blood that can act as a microorganisms and the meat also remains fresh longer than compared to other methods of slaughter.)
It is the 4th step that causes most of the polemic against the non-stunning of animals. It is also a source of confusion amongst Muslims as to whether a stunned animal can be considered fully conscious before slaughtering, and thus be considered to be Halal.
There are a number of groups that offer Halal Certification in the UK:
- Halal Consultations 36 Redway Drive, London, TW2 7NX
- The Muslim Food Board (UK)
PO Box 1786, Leicester LE5 5ZE, United Kingdom
- Halal Authority Board
Hijaz Manor, Watling Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV11 6BE
- Halal Food Authority
109 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8JA, United Kingdom
- Halal Monitoring Committee
PO Box 10141, Leicester, LE1 8DX, England UK
- Universal Halal Agency
C/O Care Link (UK) Trust, 111 Myddleton Road, London N22 8NE, United Kingdom
These organisations will certify whether a product is Certified Halal or Halal approved (Approved means that though the product cannot be certified as being Halal it is approved for use). Each authority will charge its customers for such certification and the cost will vary from Authority to Authority.
It is reported that a number of Halal Authorities around the world are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and that money generated from the proceeds of Halal Certification are used to fund Jihadist groups. According to UK based Italian journalist Enza Ferreri:
[This is] taking place in the USA and Canada where Campbell’s Soup and other companies have paid the Hamas-linked Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) for their halal certification, in France, where it is claimed that 60% of halal food is controlled by organizations belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and the so-called “halal tax” is the organization’s main source of funding. In the UK, major supermarket chain Morrisons is not only indirectly but even directly giving money to the Islamic National Zakat Foundation.
On the other hand it is also reported elsewhere that most of this money goes into funding Muslim schools and Mosques. In Australia an advocate for the strict labelling of foods is quoted as stating:
On a more basic level, nearly all profits from Halal certification go towards building Muslim schools and mosques.
Until a thorough investigation is done into what exactly happens to the money raised from Halal Certification lingering doubts will remain.
If all that wasn’t enough it has emerged that, in the UK, foods labelled as Halal have been found to contain anything but Halal ingredients. In a report by the British Government’s Food Standards Agency dated 1st Feb 2013 the following fact was given:
The Food Standards Agency has been informed that a number of meat pies and pasties supplied to prisons in England and Wales were labelled and served as Halal but contained traces of pork DNA. The local authority is investigating how this contamination came about and whether these products have been distributed further across the UK.
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