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      Islamophobia as a Deterrent to Halal Global Trade

      Islamophobia Studies Journal
      Pluto Journals
      Islamophobia, trade, halal, boycott


            Islamophobia continues to be on the rise in Europe and other regions, such as Australia, Canada and the United States. It is now a global phenomenon which has multiple manifestations and is generated at different layers of society, and does not only affect citizens 1 in non-Islamic countries, but has recently shown a new expression: the target has shifted towards Islamic economies, and more specifically towards the halal trade. Emerging economies in the region of Asia-Pacific and the Gulf are net importers of halal products (particularly foodstuff), which, paradoxically, are produced in non-Islamic economies. A report commissioned by the Dubai government, and researched and written by Thompson Reuters and Dinar Standard, 2 valued the halal food and beverage (F&B) market at US$ 1.37 trillion in 2014. That represented 18.2% of the total global F&B market. In addition, the youthful population of the Muslim world - with 60% under the age of 30 - indicates that demand for halal products and services is likely to continue its upward growth curve and become an increasingly influential market over the next decade. This tremendously attractive market niche, combined with the slow growth of the economies of Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States, has prompted many industries to seek halal certification and to adapt their products and services to the requirements of Muslim consumers worldwide, including the significant minorities already living outside Islamic economies. 3 However, some newcomers to the halal global market have found that there is another obstacle to overcome, apart from those already present in global trade: Islamophobia. In this article, I will explore the many expressions of Islamophobia aimed at stopping the growth of the halal market, and the different policies and attitudes of governments and institutions when confronted with the need to balance economic growth with cultural misunderstandings and hatred. I found systematic attempts to undermine the halal food industry made by some European Members of Parliament, claims of animal cruelty sparked by animal rights groups, bans on halal sacrifice in the meat industry, the “boycott-halal” on-line campaign, alleged funding of terrorism, threats and other expressions of hatred that have managed to prevent many businesses from accessing the emerging halal market.


            Author and article information

            Islamophobia Studies Journal
            Pluto Journals
            Fall 2017
            : 4
            : 1
            : 129-145
            © Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.


            Social & Behavioral Sciences


            1. Islamophobia affects all citizens, whether Muslim or not. Andres Breivik's attack in Norway is considered an Islamophobic attack, as his motives were to remove “Marxist/Multiculturalists” because they were “preventing us from stopping our own national/cultural suicide as the Islamic colonization is increasing annually. […] You cannot defeat Islamisation or halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe without first removing the political doctrines manifested through multiculturalism/cultural Marxism…” Berwick Andrew (Anders Behring Breivik), 2083, A European Declaration of Independence, 2011. See also: Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia , 2014.

            2. Thosom & Reuters and DinarStandar, State of the Global Islamic Economy, 2014–2015 report (Thosom & Reuters, DinarStandar).

            3. International Trade Centre, From Niche to Mainstream. Halal Goes Global (Geneva, 2015). http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/Halal_Goes_Global-web(1).pdf.

            4. The news broke after New Year's Eve 2016 that “more than 1,200 women had been sexually assaulted” (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/world/europe/coordinated-attacks-on-women-in-cologne-were-unprecedented-germany-says.html?_r=0). Despite the fact that the first accusations were pointed at immigrants/refugees as the perpetrators, no perpetrators of the 509 crime cases investigated could be identified a year later. “The prosecutor's office could initiate 58 criminal investigations against 83 persons. Only 6 were convicted so far”. (https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article159765841/Wie-es-aussieht-kommen-fast-alle-Taeter-davon.html).

            5. https://www.iom.int/news/irregular-migrant-refugee-arrivals-europe-top-one-million-2015-iom.

            6. http://frontex.europa.eu/news/frontex-publishes-risk-analysis-for-2016-NQuBFv.

            7. Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 of September 14, 2015, and 2015/1601 of September 22, 2015. The provisions intended the relocation of a total of 160,000 people.

            8. See http://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/many-eu-countries-say-no-to-immigration-quotas/ and http://www.epgencms.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/upload/d15622d3-b9fc-466c-960b-57c1fecef29b/Session_2_-_Briefing_Asylum_in_the_EU_facts_and_Figures.pdf (First Instance decisions on Asylum, 2014). Nine of the 28 states gave a positive decision in more than 50% of asylum applications.

            9. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common list for EU of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU.

            10. http://ec.europa.eu/echo/refugee-crisis_en.

            11. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Global Trends. Forced Displacement in 2016 (Geneva, 2017). http://www.unhcr.org/5943e8a34.pdf.

            12. and (eds.), From the Far Right to the Mainstream: Islamophobia in Party Politics and the Media (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

            13. http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/154078/airplanes-to-track-halal-food-choices.

            14. http://www.carbonated.tv/news/halal-meat-shop-west-midland-england-petrol-bomb-vandalism; http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/28/butcher-hit-by-petrol-bomb-in-latest-racist-incident-5971947/.

            15. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-36688520.

            16. http://www.salaamgateway.com/en/food/story/overviewaustralias_13_billion_halal_food_industry-salaam14092016063348/.

            17. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/south-australian-company-bows-to-social-media-campaign-and-scraps-its-halal-certification-costing-it-contract-with-airline-giant/news-story/db4902b4eec95cd4be5d59977dbe0220.

            18. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-25/byron-anzac-halal/5841118; http://www.smartcompany.com.au/marketing/44247-byron-bay-cookies-cops-racist-abuse-for-disrespectful-halal-certified-anzac-biscuits/.

            19. http://www.thepointmagazine.com.au/post.php?s=2014-12-05-food-industry-bites-back-at-anti-halal-groups.

            20. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4201700/Halal-certifier-suing-anti-Islam-campaigner-defamation.html.

            21. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/11/anti-halal-campaigner-sued-over-claims-islamic-certification-supports-terrorism.

            22. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/halal-certifiers-defamation-case-against-kirralie-smith-and-q-society-settled-out-of-court.

            23. http://www.qsociety.org.au/downloads/QSAsettlementstatment.pdf.

            24. H. R. 4807 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/4807/text) and S. 2333 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/senate-bill/2333/text?r=53); http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Dubai-Ports-Fallout-Islamophobia-on-the-rise-2539608.php; http://www.nbcnews.com/id/11435262/#.WLw7Nv4ixKY; . City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism (New Yok: Picador-McMillan, 2009).

            25. Although it is not the purpose of this article, other Islamophobic parliamentary questions (2016) include: Marie-Christine Arnautu (ENF): Award of a European grant of EUR 2.5 million to the exhibition “Islam, it's also our history”; Mara Bizzotto (ENF): Prohibition of burkinis to protect the rights and freedom of women in Europe from Muslim extremism. Both representatives of the European National Front implied that certain expressions of Islam (Islamic values were never mentioned) are not compatible with European values. Jean-Luc Schaffhauser (ENF): Political Islam (in relation to the link between Islam and terrorism); Anna Elżbieta Fotyga (ECR): Indirect support for terrorism and hate speech from EU funds; and so on.

            26. Answer given by Mr Figel on behalf of the Commission: “Article 151 of the Treaty establishing the- European Community defines the competence of the Community in the cultural field and indicates in its fourth paragraph that “the Community shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of this Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures”. Moreover, cultures are, by definition, unique and therefore different from each other. In line with Article 151, the EU should therefore contribute to the flourishing of cultural diversity in Europe. In the view of the Commission, this implies fair, equal and non-discriminatory treatment of cultures in the European context”. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2006-3829&language=EN.

            27. Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission: “In particular, the Commission reminds the Honourable Member that from the annual European Union Summary Reports on zoonotic infections and food-borne outbreaks monitoring the evolving situation in Europe prepared by the European Food Safety Authority, which are based on data collected by the EU Member States, no indication is found to assume that halal meat has a significant role on food-borne outbreaks”.

            28. The “ritual” slaughter practised to ensure that meat is acceptable to Muslims involves severing the entire neck save for the spinal column and draining blood from the animal without anaesthetization. Under EU guidelines on hygiene standards with regard to slaughter, this practice is forbidden. The trachea and oesophagus should not be harmed during bleeding. This type of ritual slaughter allows pathogens to enter the blood easily and spread through the body of the animal while it is in its death throes. While the creature is slowly dying and suffering, it can suffer strong convulsions, which mean that the entire slaughter area becomes contaminated with urine and excrement. Slaughterhouses run more profitably if they use only one method of slaughter (halal slaughter). Muslims consume only certain cuts of meat and the rest is not discarded but often sold - with halal slaughtered meat apparently ending up on the market without relevant labelling. 1. What is the position of the Commission with regard to the allegation that halal slaughtering is practiced in a manner which contravenes EU regulations on hygiene standards with regard to slaughter? 2. To what extent is the meeting of hygiene requirements during halal slaughter monitored by the Member States, and who conducts the inspections? 3. Is the allegation being looked into at EU level that halal meat is supposedly being sold without labelling? Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission: EU legislation on food hygiene provides that the trachea and oesophagus must remain intact during bleeding. This rule is not applicable when slaughter takes place according to a religious custom. In addition, EU legislation on animal welfare provides for an exception from stunning in the case of religious slaughter. However, even if the exception is applied, bleeding must always be carried out without undue delay and in a manner that avoids contaminating the meat. It is therefore the responsibility of food business operators using the derogation to ensure that contamination does not occur. It is the responsibility of the Competent Authorities in the Member States to carry out appropriate official controls to ensure that food business operators comply with the requirements of EU legislation. In particular, they must verify that hygienic rules and procedures are always respected. The EU legal framework for food labelling covers all foods to be delivered as such to the ultimate consumer, including halal meats. However, there is no legal obligation to indicate the method of slaughter of animals used in the production of such foods. The recently adopted Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers indicates in its Recital 50 that a study on the opportunity to provide the consumer with information on the stunning of animals should be considered in the context of a future Union strategy for the protection and welfare of animals. The Commission has now adopted this strategy and plans to carry out this study in 2013.

            29. https://www.bva.co.uk/News-campaigns-and-policy/Newsroom/News-releases/E-petition-to-end-non-stun-slaughter-hits-100,000-as-FSA-figures-show-increase-in-non-stun/; https://petition.parliament.uk/archived/petitions/64331.

            30. Penn Free Methodist Church owns the page “RealChristianity.org” where the leaflet can be downloaded. http://realchristianity.org/Handout%20protest%20leaflet%20re%20unlabelled%20halal%20meat.pdf.

            31. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/contact-us/faqs-halal-chicken-slaughter/.

            32. For a review of the legislation in UK and Switzerland on religious slaughter, see , Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 33, no. 6: Governing Islam in Western Europe: Essays on Governance of Religious Diversity. New Challenges for Islamic Ritual Slaughter: A European Perspective; pp. 965–80 (2007).

            33. Art. 18. Derogation from stunning in case of religious slaughter taking place in slaughterhouses was granted by Directive 93/119/EC. Since Community provisions applicable to religious slaughter have been transposed differently depending on national contexts and considering that national rules take into account dimensions that go beyond the purpose of this Regulation, it is important that derogation from stunning animals prior to slaughter should be maintained, leaving, however, a certain level of subsidiarity to each Member State. As a consequence, this Regulation respects the freedom of religion and the right to manifest religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance, as enshrined in Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

            34. Executive Order No 135 of 14 February 2014 on the slaughtering and killing of animals.

            35. http://www.lepoint.fr/societe/suisse-la-concurrence-deloyale-du-halal-05-08-2016-2059271_23.php; https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/2016/08/03/viande-halal-nouveau-prise-cible-parlement.

            36. http://bit.ly/1jEHadm.

            37. Submission to Department Of Foreign Affairs & Trade in response to Indonesia Australia — Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) by the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), July 2016. http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/iacepa/Documents/australia-meat-industry-council-2016.PDF.

            38. http://www.smartcompany.com.au/marketing/social-media/44555-halal-hate-campaign-businesses-targeted-by-organised-social-media-attack-as-anti-islam-lobby-group-claims-success/.

            39. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_committees?url=mig/multiculturalism/subs/sub335_2.pdf.

            40. http://arts.unimelb.edu.au/nceis/welcome/community-engagement/learning-from-one-another.

            41. http://www.qsociety.org.au/soscampaign.htm.

            42. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-24/senate-inquiry-no-direct-link-between-halal-certification/6801968.

            43. http://halalchoices.com.au/tax_answer.html.

            44. https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/halal-choices/id951371363?mt=8.

            45. https://www.facebook.com/BOYCOTTxHALAL/.

            46. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/12094209/Cadbury-loses-more-than-6m-in-Creme-Egg-sales-after-changing-recipe.html; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cadbury-s-loses-6m-after-changing-creme-egg-recipe-a6807591.html.

            47. http://www.barenakedislam.com/2016/04/03/update-sharia-compliant-cadbury-axes-the-word-easter-from-its-halal-islamic-approved-easter-eggs/.

            48. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/27/cadbury-easter-not-banned-from-eggs–its-just-hiding/.


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