26 September, 2020

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Why We Should Boycott Halal Products?

By Kasun Adikari

Kasun Adikari

“Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumour; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blameable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them.”- Kalama Sutta: The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry

Introduction

Violence in the name of religion has become the predominant model for politics in the modern world. In the present context, has increased in its frequency, scale of violence, and national reach in Sri Lanka.  Too much emphasis is wrongly placed among the majority on various aspects on the practice of other religions especially on the concept of halal. It’s telling that more verbal and political energies are being channelled to create anxiety about this.

The purpose of this article is to provide a basic understanding on the concept of halal and how it operates internationally, to people from my own community since they often tend to be provided with inaccurate, lacking and sometimes simply fabricated facts of the same. Hence, right understanding of the concept may help to alleviate vague or poor understandings and in some way enhance peaceful relationship between Sinhalese and Muslims which we have been maintaining it for more than thousand years without any cracks.

What is halal?

Twenty years back when I was reading for my first degree at University of Moratuwa, I raised this question to one of my batch mate and now it is at the heart of a controversy for the majority Sri Lankans.

Oxford dictionary defines ‘halal’ as ‘religiously acceptable according to Islamic law.’ The word halal refers to anything that is considered permissible and lawful under religion. Muslims are supposed to live their lives by this concept, with its connotations of cleanliness, integrity and self-restraint. The opposite of this word is haraam. The term halal is widely used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law. In fact, it refers to permissible behaviour, speech, dress, conduct, manner and dietary. In a Muslim’s life, every aspect of life is regulated by Islamic law; therefore, the Halal-Haraam dichotomy almost always applies to everything, and Muslims make sure they understand what is what since saying or doing Halal will lead to Paradise and Haraam to Hell.

Halal Foods

Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic dietary guidelines. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. Why Muslims want halal foods at all? “the logic behind this is that remaining blood in the body may become polluted and harmful to humans”.

The foods addressed are mostly types of meat. In order to be halal, permitted animals must be slaughtered according to prescribed methods of slaughtering (halal slaughtering), which emphasised on the aspects of hygiene, health, safety and humane treatment.  A study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Humane Society International concluded that the animals that are slaughtered according to halal method complies with the hygiene and environmental health issues and halal  meat should be labelled when it is put on sale, so that members of the public can decide on the choice.

Halal Certification

Halal is not only concern on meat foods, it emphasise that Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals, and non-food items like cosmetics, are also halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.

Halal certification tells Muslims that their ingredients and production methods have been tested and declared permissible by a certification body (i.e., internationally or locally recognised halal certification bodies certifies the product as halal, preferably with a trademarked and unique symbol). It also allows companies to export products to most Middle Eastern countries and South East Asian Countries.

Since the introduction of halal certification, many mainstream manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals, prepared foods, and other products, as well as hotels, restaurants, airlines, hospitals, and other service providers have pursued the halal market. These companies purchase halal-certified products.

International Perspective

Halal Food Authority (HFA) is one of the UK’s largest regulators of halal foods. HFA is well established, both within the halal slaughter and wider food industry. Today, from Kelloggs cereals to KFC; from ASDA to British Airways, the HFA logo can be found on food products declaring them to be approved as halal.

The oldest and most well-known halal certifier in the United States is called the ‘Islamic Services of America’. In 2011, ‘Halal Products Certification Institute’ was established in California and became the first worldwide corporation that certified halal consumer products such as cosmetics, personal care products and perfumes & fragrances. The institute was established by Islamic intellectual scholars and Muslim scientists to assure the dissemination of halal consumer products.

Also in Europe, several organizations have been created over the past 20 years in order to certify halal products. A survey recently published by a French association of Muslim Consumers (ASIDCOM) shows that the market of halal products has been developed in a rapid way.

In South Africa, most chicken products have a halal stamp. The South African National Halal Authority (SANHA) issues certificates and products bearing this logo range from water, snacks, and even meat-free products (which may contain non-halal ingredients). The South African National Halal Authority also licenses the usage of the Halal logo in restaurants where the food is halal in addition to no alcohol or pork products being served.

McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) have been declared to be halal in most of the countries. In the United Kingdom, China, Malaysia or Singapore, halal fried chicken restaurants having thousands of outlets serve halal foods, such as the ChicKing Fried Chicken, Brown’s Chicken, and Crown Fried Chicken companies.

Also, in New York City there are numerous halal food carts in business which serve gyros, chicken platters, and other halal fast foods, whereas in Europe, there are many of halal certified Doner kebab shops. Very recently, twelve stores in the Mary Brown’s chain in Ontario and Alberta became 100% halal.

Thailand and Philippines also has a noticeable population of Muslims and halal meat shops country wide. Within the People’s Republic of China, which has a sizable Muslim minority population, halal food is known as ‘Qingzhen’ means ‘pure truth.’

Charges justifiable?

Almost all the halal certifying institutions around the world incorporated as non-profit organisations and they are categorised under service sector. Besides, Halal certification is a long and meticulous process that requires investment in expertise, equipment and manpower. Therefore, organizations certify halal products are compelled to charge a fee to meet their expenses. Like any other certification process, halal certification also has a management cost involved. For example, when a company obtains the quality standard, the system standard or the risk management standard certification, it is charged for various costs with regard to logistics, communication, human resources, professional services and consultation fees. In addition to that, halal certifying institutions has to bear the costs in relation to  technological testing and research, human resource costs as they are obliged to maintain a dedicated team of food scientists, administrators, Halal auditors and a large team of supervisors based at certified plants.

Conclusion

From the above, it appears that the concept of halal has a global recognition and is wider in its scope. Specifically as far as Muslims are concern, the concept of halal is embedded with their day to day life and is considered as one of the significant aspects of practicing there religion.

As Buddhists, we must know how to regard other religions and their practices as we belong to the religious group that accepts and appreciates the reasonable teachings of every religion.   Buddhists can also tolerate the practices of other religious, cultural traditions and customs, although they may not necessarily wish to emulate them.

In other words, Buddhists respect the other man’s views and appreciate other practices without harbouring any religious prejudices. If there are certain Buddhists who feel they are unable to appreciate the ways of other religious practices, then the least they could do is to maintain their silence and refrain from any undue criticism: this attitude is very important for peaceful co-existence. If we study the teachings of Buddhism, then we can understand the basis of our religion and our attitude towards the other religions. To practise a religion we must be honest, sincere, truthful and kind to others: we must avoid deceit and cruelty: and in our relation with others we must be broad-minded.

According to the Buddha, if we adopt aggressive and violent methods to solve our problems, we cannot find the real solution to overcome them. No doubt, we can suppress some troubles and temporarily win the battle as long as our opponents remain weak. But when our opponents get the chance, they will not keep quiet and will not forgive us.   Therefore, if we act with violence, we can never find lasting peace.   This is why the Buddha once said:  “Hatred is never ended by hatred, but only by loving-kindness.”  Buddha also said:  “It is not that I quarrel with the world but the world quarrels with me.  A  teacher of truth never quarrels with others.

Accordingly, non-violence is at the heart of Buddhist thinking and behaviour. Nothing in Buddhist scripture gives any support to the use of violence as a way to resolve conflict. One of Buddha’s sermons puts this very clearly with a powerful example that stresses the need to love your opponent no matter how cruelly he treats you:

“Even if thieves carve you limb from limb with a double-handed saw, if you make your mind hostile you are not following my teaching.”Kamcupamasutta,  Majjhima-Nikkaya I – 28-29

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Thank you..
    May allah full fill your knowladge in islam

    • 0
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      I think you have not taken my approach in the right context / angle. May Allah bless you with more wisdom to suite the moment.

  • 0
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    When one is born, he does not ask whether he should eat beef, pork, wear hijab, etc. It’s only as he grows older and forms a sense of identity that these ideas come. But ultimately, religion is not essential for human survival. The 1 year old and the 41 year old still have the same basic needs: food and sleep.

  • 2
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    This person is a DECEITFUL person who has titled his letter Why We Should Boycott Halal Products?

    But in fact, the whole gist of his article is “Why We Should NOT Boycott Halal Products?” In short, the writer is apparently a MUSLIM, or a person who has been bribed by Muslims to deceive people for the purpose of performing Public Relations and advertising purposes for Islam.
    Or he is a person who does not know the history of Islam and has misunderstood the nature, violence and viciousness of Islam. Muslims invaded a mass of Buddhist countries – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan (and all the other countries ending with “…..stan”) India, Bangladesh,, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. – which were ALL Buddhist countries, tortured and murdered MILLIONS of the Buddhists in those countries and terrorised and forced the remaining people to convert top Islam. Islam is a FASCIST religion which terrorises everyone in Muslim countries by the use of torture, beheading, stoning to death, burying alive or burning alive at the stake.
    This person is distorting Buddhism and advocating “peace” while he is ignorant of the fact that Islam was spread NOT with peace, but with violence, torture and mass genocidal murders. Yet it is pretending to be a religion of “peace”. It is only when a person has been converted that he/she learns how vicious that religion is: but by that time it is too late – because if he/she wants to leave the religion THEN, he will be BEHEADED for “APOSTASY” – that is, for leaving Islam! A Sinhela woman was recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia – and any Buddhist person carrying any Buddhist books or statues into a Muslim country will find them confiscated and the Buddha statues being destroyed. Yet we in Sri Lanka are TOO tolerant – and wrongly permitted Muslims to teach their perverse religion in Sri Lanka. And since NO Muslim women were brought to Sri Lanka, ALL the women that Muslims marry and then force them to practice their religion are made to do so by threatening to behead them!
    This person is also MIS-QUOTING and MIS-INTERPRETING the Kalaama Sutta. The Buddha exhorted his followers to us their intelligence to analyse whether there is any truth in something before accepting it. There is VERY LITTLE truth in Islam – as he can discover if he reads the Koran – which is a book almost as perverse, distorted and fascistic as the Nazi doctrine.
    Buddhism is a religion which was formed more than a THOUSAND years before Islam and almost all of any sensible aspects in Islam have been copied directly from Buddhism. Buddhists have NOTHING to learn from such a fascistic, primitive, ignorant and violent religion. Buddhism is a religion which advocates kindness, compassion, and other GOOD qualities none of which DO NOT appear in Islam. In contrast, Islam is a narrow-minded, perverse and ignorant religion – which you will see if you read the Koran – but the Muslims conceal all those qualities in Islam and try to deceive Buddhist Sinhela people.

  • 0
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    Watch the proceedings of meeting 11/Mar. on removal of Halal logo. Google for ‘Youtube ACJU knowledgebox’, and watch all clips Q&A, and the presentations made by all

  • 0
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    @ newhouse- you’ve got your facts wrong buddy-Google worlds fastest growing religion and according to guiness book of world records-i just did-its islam..
    Also Indonesia is the largest muslim population not sadui arabia.Arabs make up only 8 percent of the muslim population.92 percent from other countries….Also what the arab countries do is their culture not based on religion- i know ,i’ve been in there and learnt about it..Its funny how after sept 11th islam grew sooo fast-coz people find out the truth i guess when they look at the true teachings of islam which have nothing to do with these extremist groups..
    And finally the debate is on halal/non-hala not religion..
    Bandara.M.

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    @newhouse-Also the teachings of the muslim religion go back to the start of mankind ,it is not a religion brought by Muhammed.It started since the time of the first creation-according to history..Some chrit=stian friends also purchase hala coz the old testament says so and muslims believe in the old testament apparently..anyhow back to subject ,just wanted to put in my two cents ..coz its sad to see people veer away from topic..and even more so without getting their facts straightened..
    Bandara M.

  • 0
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    If you are talking about a phylosopy or religious guideline it should be applied to every one and every corner in the planet, hope you can understand my point. If you apply non-veg law to the poeple in the Norht and South pole they will die. Obviously there is no land for cultivate rice and potatto. This is where the Islamic principles stands, it can be applied to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.

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    I want to see Muslims/sinhalese/Tamils all live together as bros and sisters…. We all srilankans……

  • 0
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    Why r ppl hell-bent on condemning Islam? They condemn by blindly following others who do so without understanding? Idiotic. Go check out e books of other religions as well before condemning Islam.

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