The halal food hysteria continues to whip up irrational anxiety on the extreme right. You may remember the last debacle concerning Pam Geller’s embarrassing crusade against Campbell’s halal soups. This time Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is continuing the fight with its latest smear attack on the Muslim community.
The headline begins by asking a leading question, “Muslim Halal food sales supporting terrorism?”
Muslim halal food is creeping into the food chain not only in France, but worldwide, including the United States.
CBN News visited a butcher shop in a Muslim area of Paris. But it was no ordinary butcher shop. Our camera operator was warned to stop taping.
Why would a butcher shop care if it was being photographed? One reason, according to an Islamic expert we consulted, may have been that our camera operator, who is not a Muslim, was unclean and this was a halal butcher shop.
Notice the use of the trademark Islamophobic phrase “creeping” sharia. We are given the ominous imaginary picture of a dark-skinned, hostile Arab shuffling the CBN camera crew out because, our anonymous Islamic expert tells us, Muslims (maybe) view all non-Muslims as “unclean.” This little anecdote nobody saw is enough to lead some readers to think that somehow Halal butchershops are threatening, menacing. In reality, it is far more likely that the Muslim shop owner didn’t want the camera crew of an anti-Muslim loon causing trouble in his shop. I guess we’ll just have to take CBN and their anonymous Islamic expert’s word for it. The article continues:
Leading the fight against Quick’s sale of halal food is Charles Aslangul, a 21-year old city councilman, college student, and president of the Republican Order.
“Islam is introducing sharia into our society and that’s not clear for people,” Alain Wagner, a French activist with the Alliance Against Sharia, said. “When you see halal food in shops you think, ‘Oh, it’s just a kind of food.’ No. it’s sharia.”
According to some experts, a portion of the proceeds from halal food sales in France go to groups tied to terrorism.
When a French consumer buys Halal food, part of the price paid goes as a fee to Halal Islamic experts. Some of those experts are certified by the UOIF, the Union of the Islamic Organizations in France, which the Simon Wiesenthal Center reports has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational political organization that supports terrorism.
When French journalist and author Alexandre del Valle began investigating how the Muslims Brotherhood was attempting a mafia-style takeover of France’s Halal food industry, his life was threatened.
“Nearly 60 percent of halal food is controlled by organizations belonging to the Muslim brotherhood,” he explained.
Again, relying on dubious “experts” we are told that most Halal food sales are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism, therefore Halal food supports terrorism. Nevermind that absolutely no concrete evidence at all is presented to substantiate the claim that these Halal food organizations have “strong ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood. But even if this completely made up figure of “nearly 60%” were true, that does not in any way mean these sales are supporting terrorism. The Brotherhood’s public position on political terrorist violence is well-known. The CFR website states:
At various times in its history, the group has used or supported violence and has been repeatedly banned in Egypt for attempting to overthrow Cairo’s secular government. Since the 1970s, however, the Egyptian Brotherhood has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics. The U.S. State Department does not include the group on its list of terrorist organizations. The Brotherhood denounced the April 7 bombing in Cairo by a previously unknown militant group, the Al-Ezz Islamic Brigades, calling it a “cowardly act,” The Associated Press reported.
Nevertheless, baseless speculation and smear by cynical innuendo seems to be the preferred CBN method of journalism instead of actually taking the time to research these things. The CBN article continues:
Journalist Del Valle said Halal food has been a brilliant political and business strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The food was two victories in one. We split people. We divide two societies inside a society. And we make money,” he said.
Some say halal food is no different than Kosher, but Wagner disagrees.
“No, it’s not like kosher food. Kosher-eating people are not preaching for the destruction of democracy. Halal is sharia. And we need to ban any sharia-related thing in our society,” he said.
This passage takes for granted the ignorance of CBN’s readership. The whole basis of fearing Halal soup has been its nefarious connection to the allegedly omnipresent terrorist-supporting Muslim Brotherhood. However, in this passage, we are also told to associate “Halal” and “Sharia” with “destruction of democracy.” Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood has long been pushing for fairer and freer elections in Egypt. In contrast, it has been the U.S. allied ruling Mubarak regime that has suppressed the democratic opposition, not the Brotherhood. But again, CBN appears to rely on unidentified Islamic “experts” (who are they? where did they study Islam?) rather than mainstream sources. The truth is that those who say Halal is no different than Kosher are correct:
This day good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. (Quran 5:5)
This verse of the Quran allows Muslims, Christians, and Jews to eat each other’s food because of their common belief in the same God (i.e. the God of Abraham). Instead of spreading unfounded fears about Halal food, perhaps the Christian Broadcasting Network should encourage their viewers to get to know their Muslim neighbors by sharing a meal.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
Wouldn’t that be more Christian?