Pamela Geller Screws up on Halal. Big Time.
Probably already mentioned many times before in the comments, but as someone who eats kosher, I’ll count the mistakes made in Pamela Geller’s new article. Why, yes, my occasional dietary habits do in fact make me an expert:
meat slaughtered by means of a barbaric, torturous and inhuman method: Islamic slaughter.
Hold that thought, Pam. It’ll become important in a minute.
Where are the PETA clowns and the ridiculous celebs who pose naked on giant billboards for PETA and “animal rights”? They would rather see people die of cancer or AIDS than see animals used in drug testing, but torturous and painful Islamic slaughter is OK.
Hard as it is to admit, we’re pretty much on the same wavelength about PETA. They’re indeed clowns, and they have been chewed out by the ADL before for their more Godwin-ish campaigns. However, PETA has had some harsh words about halal meat, meaning Pamela shouldn’t have any problem agreeing with them.
The Sharia term for halal slaughter is dhakat.
What the hell is “dhakat?” I Googled the word and all that came up was Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I think the word she’s looking for is dhabihah. Whatever, we have the next “refudiate.”
Dhakat is to slaughter an animal by cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein
Now the first quote in this entry comes into play. Again, Geller gets the gist when describing -ahem- dhakat, but she omits one crucial element: during shechita, the practitioner does the exact same thing. The method of cutting is identical, both methods require drainage of blood, and the only crucial difference is that Jews do not require a blessing before each cut.
Jews are less likely to be exposed to such meat, because they eat kosher.
Here’s where it gets weird: assuming it’s not shellfish or camel, acceptable under most forms of halal, and assuming it’s not the hindquarter of the animal, also acceptable under halal, meat that underwent dhabihah can be considered kosher. Why? Because it’s the same method of slaughter.
The issue for many Christians is that in halal slaughter, an imam offers the animal up as a sacrifice to Allah which makes it meat sacrificed to idols.
A little odd for a religion that forbids idols. Isn’t that like saying the Christian prayer over dinner is idolatry?
Also, an imam is not required to perform dhabihah. Any mentally competent adult Muslim can render meat halal, and come interpretations argue that Christians and Jews can do so, too.
70% of New Zealand lamb imported into the United Kingdom is halal.
Gus 802 explains it quite nicely. It’s because Muslims make up the largest global consumers of lamb. Capitalism at work. It’s like displaying shock that veggie burgers are marketed for vegetarians. Again, as the forequarter of halal lamb is indistinguishable from kosher lamb, this should be of no consequence to observant Jews.
I discovered that only two plants in the U.S. that perform halal slaughter keep the halal meat separated from the non-halal meat, and they only do so because plant managers thought it was right to do so.
Well, that’s just stupid marketing right there. If you mix meats, that makes it a little trickier to market to Muslims. Increases the risk of mislabeling haraam as halal.
But the way it looks right now, most of the beef sold in the United States comes from meat-packing plants that engage in at least some halal slaughter—and don’t always tell the public that they’ve slaughtered the animal according to halal rules. There’s no easy way to tell exactly how much of this is occurring, but I am still investigating.
And here’s where it crosses into conspiracy theory: On a mass scale, it’s more difficult to certify meat halal, or kosher for that matter. That means there’s no financial incentive to render more meat hahal than is necessary for the target market.
And that’s the latest from Pamela Geller. It probably snagged headlines on Human Events because it was a slow day or something.
Clarifications and Corrections
After some response, I realize that a lot of claims in the article were overreaching or vague. This section intends to smooth such issues out.
On the the cut: There is some debate as to the nature of slaughtering the animal. In Kashrut, “pausing” or failing to complete a cut the first time is not permissible (Shulchan Aruch/Yoreh Deah 23:2). A pause is measured as the time it would take to lift the animal and lay it back down, a time generally longer for larger animals like cattle. Some interpretations of dhabihah hold that there’s a little wiggle-room when it comes to cutting. From a pragmatic perspective, a complete cut is more likely to effectively drain the blood, considered both haraam and treif, and minimize the animal’s suffering, meaning that it’ll be strongly encouraged.
On shellfish: Again, it’s a source of debate. While Sunni Islam generally allows the consumption of shellfish, Shia Islam doesn’t.
On blessings: While not every animal slaughtered by a shochet requires a blessing, one is still required at the beginning of the day’s work (Shulchan Aruch/Yoreh Deah 19:1).
On meat sacrificed to idols: Should’ve mentioned it earlier, but in Islam? Not gonna happen. The Quran is quite explicit in forbidding it (Quran 5:3).
For further (beginner) information about kashrut and shechita, click here.
For further information about halal and dhabihah, click here.