Yes but halal is the same thing as kosher.’ Um no, not even close. While there are some similarities, there certainly are some big differences which we must be aware of.
In an age where truth matters little, where image trumps substance, and where widespread ignorance in so many areas reigns supreme, it is not surprising to find people totally clueless about Islam and its agenda in general, and the issue of halal foods and products in particular.
Part of that ignorance manifests itself in the all too common response when you seek to warn about the huge halal industry: ‘Yes but halal is the same thing as kosher.’ Um no, not even close. While there are some similarities, there certainly are some big differences which we must be aware of.
From a superficial overview, it might seem that both of these things are quite straightforward, benign, and no big deal. Simply put, both have to do with which foods are acceptable or unacceptable to those of two different faith traditions.
In Islam, halal foods and products are those that are permissible for the Muslim, while haram foods and products are prohibited and unlawful. The Koran speaks to this in various places, such as surahs 2:172-173 and 5:3-5. Major haram items are pork and alcohol.
In Judaism kosher foods are those allowed to Jews and are not prohibited in the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Places like Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 speak to this. The lists are more detailed than what is found in the Koran. Pork is also not allowed for Jews, as for Muslims.
There are halal certification bodies which charge fees for their services, and to an extent it is the same with kosher items. However, that the halal industry is big bucks and part of a greater effort to Islamicise the West is found in just how far-ranging it has become of late.
Things never dreamed of in the Koran and the hadith are now said to be covered by halal certification. In Australia this includes the following:
- cat food
- Easter eggs
- Cadbury chocolates such as Freddo Frogs and others
- Bega cheese
- Calcium and Vitamin C tablets
- Johnson’s Baby Bath
- baby food
- McDonalds’ fish fillet
- plastic wrapping
Easter eggs? Plastic wrap? Indeed, many hundreds of companies in Australia now pay for halal certification, including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and Franklins. That this is a money-making scam should be clear to many. But that leads me to look further at the various differences between the two.
The truth is, the differences between halal and kosher far outweigh the similarities. Let me start with a particular set of differences – that which has to do with animal slaughter. Only Jews who have been specially trained are allowed to slaughter kosher animals, while Islamic slaughter can be performed by most adult Muslims.
The two methods are different as well. For example, invoking the name of God is essential in halal slaughter, but not in kosher slaughter. Also, halal slaughter is something that most folks are rightly concerned about. The RSPCA for example has spoken out against it, seeking to have it banned because of all the cruelty and suffering the animal can undergo when it is not first properly stunned.
Some might say this is no different than kosher slaughter, but there are differences. It seems that the Jewish method of slaughter, shechita, causes no suffering, pain or distress to the animal:
For a good overview of some more of these differences, see this article: www.jewsnews.co.il/2013/11/03/some-differences-between-kosher-meat-and-halal-meat-thank-g-d-i-keep-kosher.html
Moreover, generally all Kosher products come with a label. But routinely many halal products do not, and the consumer is usually left unclear as to if it is or is not. Furthermore Jews living in host countries over the centuries have not sought to impose kosher dietary laws onto others.
And this leads to some really important differences here. We need to see the bigger picture – in this case, the major differences between Judaism and Islam. As many have noted, it is probably more accurate to call Islam a political ideology instead of just another religion.
As its founder, history and key texts have always made clear, the global spread of Islam, the establishment of a universal caliphate, the endgame of seeing everyone submit to Allah (by death, conversion, or dhimmitude) is what Islam is all about.
It seeks global supremacy, with everyone under the rule of sharia law. And something like the halal scheme is just one facet of this. It is what we refer to as creeping sharia or stealth jihad. Sharia law for everyone is the end in view here. As just one indication of this, consider the words of Dr Mustafa Ceric, the grand mufti of Bosnia and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Speaking at a conference in Islamabad, Pakistan in December 2010, he said there was a need to “conquer the world through the Halal movement, as Halal means pure and hygienic and the non-Muslim world will have no choice but to accept it”.
Those who have studied Islam closely are well aware of this halal jihad. Sam Solomon for example discusses how the halal industry fits in with this global creeping sharia:
Halal food markets, Islamic dress markets, Sharia-compliant finance and banking, Islamic education, Sharia courts, etc., are all part and parcel of a unified, multifaceted socio-political-religious process deployed to transform the existing society from a civil/liberal/secular/pluralistic society into an Islamic society. The envisioned Islamic society would be a society whereby Islam is supreme over all other worldviews, both secular and religious, and whereby the civil/liberal/secular law is subservient to Islamic law.
Is halal certification really needed?
Finally, one can look at the whole notion of just how necessary halal is for the Muslim. If it can be shown that most of it is quite unnecessary, then we can indeed see all this as a scam, as a tax, as a type of extortion, and as a revenue-raiser.
That huge amounts of money are being raised, with at least some of it funnelled in some very worrying directions (eg., the funding of overseas jihadist activities) has been demonstrated by many. I have documented some of these concerns here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/09/02/halal-certification-follow-the-money/
But the truth is, Islamic law does not record intricate certification procedures, and halal certifications seems to be a recent business construct. Thus we now have dozens of halal certification bodies in Australia. They seem to be designed not to help the Muslim know what to eat or abstain from, but to soften up the West to Islamic beliefs and practices – and make a whole lot of money in the process.
One Australian expert on Islam, Dr. Bernie Power, has laid out the case as to why the halal certification movement may in fact contradict basic Islamic principles. He notes that some significant international Muslim scholars actually resist the scheme.
He identifies “ten reasons based on the Qur’an and the Hadith, and corroborated by Islamic scholars, which demonstrate that halal certification is not necessary or is contrary to accepted Islamic beliefs”:
Reason 1: In Islam, Allah is the supreme law-giver, whereas halal certification undertakes that role for itself.
Reason 2: Halal certificates are unnecessary, since halal is the default setting for most food.
Reason 3: Halal materials should not be declared haram.
Reason 4: Halal certificates are unnecessary because the food of Christians and Jews (called ‘People of the Book’ in the Qur’an) is halal for Muslims.
Reason 5: The issuing of halal certificates is bid’ah (innovation), which is forbidden in Islam: such certificates are not legitimate under Islamic law.
Reason 6: Halal certification opposes the Islamic principle of justice.
Reason 7: Halal certification impedes economic development and diversity by concentrating capital in the hands of the wealthy few.
Reason 8: Halal certification combats the Islamic ideal of brotherhood (Q.49:10; 3:103), for halal certification is destroying social cohesion in the Muslim community.
Reason 9: Halal certification denies the applicability of prophetic example. Muhammad ate meat from Jews and Christians without any such certificate.
Reason 10: Halal certificates oppose the truth, for they may promote error and falsehood.
You can read his lengthy and detailed research paper here: www.mst.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/The-Halal-Certification-controversy.pdf
In sum, the incessant and sweeping push for halal foods and products by Muslims is not only far different than kosher foods in Judaism, but it is a genuine concern for all those who value freedom, democracy, and genuine pluralism. And this is something many, many people are legitimately worried about.
As just one indication of this, less than 48 hours ago I posted an article on halal and creeping sharia, and in the short time it has been up on my website, it has already had well over 5000 shares on Facebook. People have a very real concern about the implications of halal certification and its role in the spread of Islam, something they just do not have with Judaism and kosher foodstuffs. billmuehlenberg.com/2019/01/19/halal-foods-and-creeping-sharia/
Let me close with the warnings of an Egyptian woman who recently wrote an impassioned letter to Western countries, urging us to wake up to the realities of Islam. She reminds us that Islam is not so much a religion as an expansionist political ideology, one which is simply incompatible with Western values and our way of life:
Islam is a supremacist, racist political and social ideology wrapped in a thin peel of religious rituals. It seeks domination and supremacy over all other systems and religions…. Muslims use your own democratic laws and values against you, and they do it successfully while you keep sleeping as if as in a deep coma. This is why the leftists are the people who are worthy of the title ‘useful idiots.’ They are in a perpetual state of shame and self-loathing and will be the first victims of Islam once it takes over.
Since the halal industry – unlike kosher dietary laws – is a big part of the Islamic takeover of the West: (Click to Source)
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