While many of us have concerns over the export of live animals, because of the conditions on ships and because of lack of respect for the rights of the animals being sold, halal slaughter within Australia is a humane alternative. Both kosher slaughter and halal slaughter, carried out in accordance with religious principles, are the most humane slaughter possible. Stunning is permissible according to most religious authorities, which satisfies the demands of the animal welfare community, but both Jewish and Islamic authorities argue that rapid cutting results in almost immediate insensibility. The removal of blood from animals to be consumed is essential.
The consumption of blood is forbidden to the Abrahamic religions.
The Quran states, in Al-An’aam 6:145
“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be carrion or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine, for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits; (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
The Hebrew Bible, the Torah, in Leviticus 17:12-13 decrees:
“Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood. Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth.”
In Deuteronomy 12:16 “Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it out on the earth like water.”
The followers of Jesus according to the First Council of Jerusalem, presided over by James the Righteous, the brother of Jesus and the leader of the assembly of the Gospel in Jerusalem for 30 years after the end of Jesus’ mission, agreed to a basic law. Acts of the Apostles, verses 28-29 records:
“It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages.”
James, an observant Jew who strictly obeyed Torah, assumed that all understood that abstention from blood assumed the draining of blood from the animal consumed and that forbidden animals such as swine, would be avoided.
Paul of Tarsus developed many of the ideas later described as Christianity. He is quoted in his First Letter to the Corinthians, as stating 20-21
“…when pagans sacrifice, what is sacrificed by them is sacrificed to demons who are not God. I do not want you to share with demons.” While this is associated clearly with sacrifice upon the altar in a religious rite, Paul goes on in verses 25-29 to state:
“Eat anything that is sold in butcher’s shops: there is no need to ask questions for conscience sake since To the Lord belong the earth and all it contains. If an unbeliever invites you to a meal, go if you want to, and eat whatever is put before you; you need not ask questions of conscience first. But if someone says to you, ‘This food has been offered in sacrifice,’ do not eat it, out of consideration for the person that told you, for conscience’s sake-not your own conscience.” There is some contradiction with the decree of the First Council of Jerusalem.
The claim that Islam is Paganism
That Muslims are pagans is the argument relied upon by extremist Christians who are presently mounting a major anti-halal campaign in Australia. They claim that the one God, Allah is an idol, a false god, so that anything killed in His name is sacrificed to a demon. However this claim is not widespread amongst monotheists.
The Catholic Church accepts that Christians and Muslims worship the one God. Nostra Aetate of Paul VI October 28, 1965 proclaims:
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet.”
The Syrian Orthodox also state:
“We do not want to forget that the main religious dogma of Christianity and Islam are close to each other, such as the belief in one God who made heaven and earth, the belief in the day of judgment, the day of the resurrection, eternal life, heaven and hell, etc. There are also historical-religious events of the Syrians, which are mentioned in the Quran, like the Legend of the Cave and The Martyrs of the Furrow. For the Syrians the Legend of the Cave was an event with which God proves that He, the creator, can bring back to life the dead on the day of the resurrection.”
Patriarchal Journal of the Syrian Orthodox Church [Vol. 33 – June 1995 – No. 146, pp. 322-344].
The Encyclopaedia Judaica also states:
“In view of the strict monotheism of Islam, Muslims were considered as Noachides whereas the status of Christians was a matter of debate. Since the later Middle Ages, however, Christianity too has come to be regarded as Noachide, on the ground that Trinitarianism is not forbidden to non-Jews.”
Noachides are those who obey the covenant God established with Noah.
The Noachide Laws are seven laws considered by rabbinic tradition as the minimal moral duties required by the Bible on all people. Every non-Jew is considered a “son of the covenant of Noah” and he who accepts these obligations is considered a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica the seven Noachide laws are:
- Do Not Deny God
- Do Not Blaspheme God
- Do Not Murder,
- Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships.
- Do Not Steal
- Do Not Eat of a Live Animal
- Establish Courts/Legal System to Ensure Law Obedience.
This universal consensus of the monotheistic religions somewhat undermines the extremist argument, based upon prejudice rather than rational analysis, that Islam is a pagan faith based around a false god.
The loss of the validity of that argument does not however remove the possibility of anti-halal hysteria. As Larry Pickering, four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, stated in his blog:
“So, who are these Islamic bastards who are adding to my grocery bill? Well, the “Indonesian Council of Ulama”, MUI, (which also orders Fatwa rulings) is the Mafia style Islamic body organising the multi-million dollar racket that forces Australian companies to pay outrageous amounts to have their food certified as halal.”
He went on: “Thinking this might lead to some sort of Fatwa I called a few food manufacturers. None was prepared to speak to me, except Arnott’s, who said they were attempting to resist some “standover tactics”. One distributor, who asked not to be named, was prepared to offer an opinion: “They really don’t care if the halal sign is there or not, they only insist it’s on the exported product and as long as the supplier pays the monthly fee everything’s sweet. If they refuse to pay, then their exports are at risk.”
Local clerics arrange for Muslims to flood Aussie food processors with intimidating letters and phone calls threatening that unless they pay fees to become halal certified, some, “pretty bad stuff will happen”.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce recently estimated that the halal market could be worth up to $US1.6 trillion by 2018. Australia is only able to get some 9% of this trade to date, unable to adequately compete with Brazil. One Queensland feedlotter claimed: “We’re expecting approximately a 10 per cent to 15 per cent compounded growth over the next five years. So it’s going to be an incredibly important market for us to continue to maintain our Halal standards.” see here.
Meanwhile this sort of lunacy is going on. “TERRITORIANS opposed to halal certification are boycotting Paul’s Iced Coffee, flooding social media with their protests. The iconic Territory drink has been the target of online hate because it is halal certified. Mick O’Keefe on Facebook wrote: “Territory’s own, Hallal (sic) certified, the two don’t go together.” Tracy Rule went as far as to suggest the company had “our diggers blood on your hands!” halal move sparks pauls iced coffee boycott
A South Australian company has been harassed to the point that it has abandoned its halal certification. The South Australian Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company has terminated its $50,000 contract to supply halal yoghurt to Emirate Airlines. One of the major charges in this campaign was that fees from halal certification are being used to fund terrorism. Other companies like Four’N’Twenty and the Byron Bay Cookie Company have refused to drop their certification.
Religious extremism and racism are threatening a major export industry as well as undermining our attempts to reduce the live export trade. Perhaps that accords with their variety of “Christian principles!”
“When it comes to halal, ongoing campaigns against it are little more than anti-Islamic bullying,” Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Soutphommasane told the Centre for Research in Education annual oration last Thursday in Adelaide. He clearly identified the source of much of this hysteria. The Race Discrimination Commissioner said that there has been a noticeable rise in anti-Muslim sentiment during recent months, “amid community anxiety about the threat of terrorism”.
“Many Muslim communities have made clear to me their concerns about the safety of their members, especially women who wear visible Islamic dress such as headscarves.” He argued that anti-Muslim sentiment “should have no place in our society” and said that there is frequently a racial element to anti-Muslim feeling. [The Age November 14, 2014]