Islamophobia: row over halal meat erupts in Lancashire
Abdul Hamid Qureshi, above, of the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM), is calling for a boycott of school meals in protest against the county council’s recent decision to ban meat from unstunned animals, with the exception of poultry.
According to this report, he claimed that the ban would only serve to increase Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
Councillors voted 41 for the ban, 24 against with 15 abstentions.
The decision by the authority’s full council meeting last month means that suppliers will only provide halal beef and lamb from animals stunned before slaughter.
The LCM insists that only meat from non-stunned animals meets its strict interpretation of halal.
In a statement, the LCM says it:
Regrets the failure of the Council to consult with its stakeholders prior to the decision, despite the two organisations having worked together in collaboration over the past decade.
It is with great regret that once again the issue has been politicised unnecessarily and will only serve to increase Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
The Lancashire Council of Mosques remains committed to equality and humane treatment of animals and believes in the right of faith communities to exercise their religious requirements in accordance with the Law.
We understand that Lancashire County Council will be renewing their catering contract in December 2017 and will implement changes in the new year. Schools that source their meals from the county council suppliers will, according to this decision, fail to fulfil the LCM Halal criteria.
Our advice to the community is to stop school meals as soon as this occurs and campaign for change.
We recognise that this will have a significant impact on schools across Lancashire and more importantly on the children. We are committed to continue working with schools and regret the impact this will have.
The BBC reports that Lancashire County Council described the practice of not stunning animals before slaughtering them as “abhorrent” and “really cruel”.
Unstunned halal meat is currently supplied to 12,000 pupils at 27 schools in Blackburn, Nelson, Burnley, Rawtenstall, Hyndburn, Clitheroe and Preston.
Susie Charles, above, the Mayor of Lancaster and the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said she could see “no reason” for a boycott.
There is always a choice of meals anyway, including vegetarian options. It’s a very short-sighted view and it’s depriving children of good nutritious food. Eighty-four per cent of halal meat in the country is currently stunned.
Also, in New Zealand, all their lamb is stunned, and Saudi Arabia buys New Zealand lamb. If Saudis can eat stunned meat, I don’t see why people in Lancashire can’t.
The Conservative councillor also rejected Qureshi’s claim that the council’s decision would result in more fear or hatred of Muslims or Jews.
I don’t see why it should. And why are they bringing the Jews into it? We don’t supply any kosher food at all. The Jews buy their own food for their schools.
Council leader Geoff Driver said the decision was “democratic” and a “huge majority” had voted for the ban.
He said he “very sincerely” hoped it would not lead to Islamophobic sentiment in the community.
If anybody looks at it objectively, they will see that the people who could cause these problems are the Lancashire Council of Mosques themselves. They are the ones who are making such a big issue of it.
Hat tip: Vanity Unfair and BarrieJohn