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How kosher is halal?
Many Muslim Londoners are questioning the legitimacy of Halal produce being sold locally.
Halal poultry is big business and with restaurants like McDonalds and Nandos offering the Halal option it really must be. But not everybody is convinced the meat being sold or cooked at such restaurants is in fact legitimate. West Londoner Nazia Abbassi shares her frustration about shopping for a sacrosanct meal.
My name is Nazia and I grew up in Northolt, West London. I would consider myself a devout Muslim and for that reason am very particular about the meat that I eat. But for a long time eating out or buying meat from the butchers has been a bit of an issue.
I just can't help being suspicious of the butchers and restaurants that claim to be Halal. I always go out of my way to ask whether the meat that is being sold has been butchered in accordance to Shariah Law. At times I'll ask for a certificate which is often frowned upon by restaurateurs, so often I have to just take their word for it.
For a lot of people it doesn’t really bother them much, for me though it's a very important issue. I’m suspicious because of the stories you hear about suppliers claiming to be halal when they're not and butchers turning a blind eye. After all it does not take much to stick a halal sticker in your window.
My father in the early 90’s went to great lengths to make sure we had halal meals. An uproar about butchers in Southall lying about their sources made my father look for alternatives. He soon found a farm in Chesham that would supply him with chickens. He bought them in bulk and would then slaughter them himself in the farm's abattoir. That was the only way he felt he could be sure the meat was definitely halal.
Now I just go out less frequently and if I do, I pick the vegetarian option. Just to be on the safe side. Checks really need to be carried out make sure people are operating as they should.
Do you share the same suspicions? Do you care whether or not your meat is halal? Email your thoughts: email@example.com
last updated: 07/05/2008 at 13:49
Halal : The issues
Halal means "pure" and tends to apply to the meat of animals that has been slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law. (Shariah)
This involves slitting the jugular of the animal and saying a prayer. The slaughter man has to be a Muslim.
Most meat and poultry suppliers electrocute the animal prior to slaughter whilst others use a mechnical method whereby the animals are placed on a conveyor belt until a spinning blade slits its throat.
But what constitutes Halal for one Muslim may not be acceptable to another.
Three institiutions are considered to certify the processes as Halal:
Halal Food Authority, Halal Monitoring Committee & Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence
But whether or not they have the man power to monitor the growing Halal market is questionable.