"The Church of England has told its schools to ensure they are serving non-halal food after concerns that a number are only providing meat slaughtered according to Islamic law.
The official guidance was issued after Church members complained that the use of halal meat was effectively ‘spreading sharia law’ across Britain."
This seems to be quite an issue in England, the eating of halal meat. I suppose it's the high number of Muslims living there and the seeming inability of the Europeans to stand up to the political correctness and multiculturalists that are at the root of the problem.
I expect we'll be seeing the same thing here sooner or later.
But it's a problem none the less. This is less, at least in my opinion, about dietary restrictions in the Muslim world and more about subtle imposition of Sharia law. There's no reason for the schools to provide halah meat to students. Those of us with specific religious dietary needs can get along fine without public assistance. I'm Catholic and I abstain from meat on Friday. It's still a teaching of the Church that I do so, even though most have forgotten this. How many schools still have fish on Fridays? And if they don't, does it really affect Catholic kids? Eat some veggies, a cheese sandwich or nothing. It won't kill'em.
I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of Jews, some of whom kept Kosher. The schools made absolutely no accommodations for them yet somehow they managed to get along.
For those that don't know what halal means in regards to meat and slaughter here's a post from a blog about the debate within Islam. Halal meat must be slaughtered under certain conditions and the name of Allah must be invoked.
Scholars agree regarding the legitimacy (Mashru’yah) of invoking the Name of Allah (SWT) over the Dhabeehah, but they differ on whether it is obligatory (Waajib) or recommended (Mustahabb). In other words, is it considered a requirement, in order for the Dhabeehah to be Halal or not? Three MAJOR opinions of scholars have been mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer (V2 / P169) in explaining Surah Al-An’am 6 Ayat 121. The Ayat says:
"Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisq (a sin and disobedience to Allah). And certainly, the devils do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you, and if you obey them [by making Al-Maytata (a dead animal) legal by eating it], then you would indeed be Mushrikun (polytheists): [because they (devils and their friends) made lawful to you to eat that which Allah has made unlawful to eat and you obeyed them by considering it lawful to eat, and by doing so you worshipped them, and to worship others besides Allah is polytheism]." (Al-An’am 6:121)
The following is a brief summary of these opinions:
First: That the invocation is a condition for lawfulness. This opinion is held by the majority of scholars, including Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ahmad, Thawree, Ibn Abbas and many other. They say that in the above Ayat:
1. The order not to eat implies an absolute prohibition because nothing in the Ayat of elsewhere negates it or says otherwise.
2. The absence of the invocation is considered to be Fisq (impiety) or disobedience. That classification is given only to actions that are considered to be Haram.
3. The prohibition is a general one and should not be construed to only mean dead animals of animals killed by Mushriks, as some scholars have claimed. The reasoning behind this is that nothing in the Ayat indicates such a restriction or specification, and the fact that prohibition of dead animals and animals killed by Mushriks has been clearly and specifically mentioned elsewhere in the Quran more than once.
These scholars also used the following Hadith to support their opinion: Aadee ibn Hatem (RA) said:
"I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, I send my (hunting) dog and mention the Name of Allah.’ The Prophet (SAW) told me: ‘If you send your dog mentioning the Name of Allah and he killed, you eat; but if he eats from it, do not eat. He has caught it for himself.’ I said: ‘I send my dog, and then I find another dog with him, and I do not know which one caught for me.’ The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Do not eat, because you only invoked the Name on your dog, and not on the other.’" (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, among other similar Hadith)
If the invocation is dropped deliberately, the Dhabeehah is considered to be "dead," and it is Haram to eat. But if one forgot to mention it, then his slaughter is lawful and the Dhabeehah is Halal.
Second: That invocation is not a requirement, and that if one has not made it (on purpose or just forgot to do so), the slaughter would be lawful, and the Dhabeehah Halal. This is basically the Shafi’ee School’s opinion, but is also one of the opinions reported on behalf of Malik and Ahmad.
Third: That it is a condition for the lawfulness of the Dhabeehah, and that if the Muslim does not invoke the Name of Allah (SWT), his Dhabeehah is not Halal. This opinion does not differentiate between those who forget to make the invocation form those who deliberately omit it: the Dhabeehah in either case is not Halal. This opinion was adopted by Abdullah ibn Umar, Dawood Ad-dhahiri and Ibn Sereen.
Forgetfulness, however, is a valid excuse for not applying or associating consequences of actions to the doer. Rulings and conditions cannot be applied to the person who did or did not do something because of forgetting. The same concept also applies to cases in which the person is under duress, or has done something wrong by mistake.
In conclusion, the correct ruling regarding the requirement of invoking the Name of Allah (SWT) over slaughtered animals is that the invocation is obligatory (Waajib) for the slaughter to be Halal, and that if one deliberately omits it, his Dhabeehah is Haram to eat. ALL THIS RELATES TO CASES IN WHICH THE PERSON PERFORMING THE SLAUGHTERING IS A MUSLIM.
The Muslim Woman
Does the invocation of Allah's name mean that halal meat is meat sacrificed to idols? If it is then as a Christian should I refrain from eating it? Or is Allah the same God as the God we worship? The Muslims would say yes. Personally, I think that there is some relationship to the one true God but that Allah and He are not the same. So in my mind Allah is an idol because he is a false god.
What does the New Testament say about meat sacrificed to idols?
That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well.
But as touching the Gentiles that believe, we have written, decreeing that they should only refrain themselves from that which has been offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangles, and from fornication.
But as for the meats that are sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. For although there be that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many, and lords many); Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. But there is not knowledge in every one. For some until this present, with conscience of the idol: eat as a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But meat doth not commend us to God. For neither, if we eat, shall we have the more; nor, if we eat not, shall we have the less. But take heed lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumblingblock to the weak. For if a man see him that hath knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not his conscience, being weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols ? And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ hath died ?
1 Corinthians 8:4-11
But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils.
1 Corinthians 10:20
It seems that the Bible would recommend against eating meat sacrificed to idols, not because the meat itself will harm us but mainly because it will be seen as causing scandal among the weak, perhaps causing them to lose the little faith they may have.
I suppose, stated differently, if the faith of the Christian means so little to the Christian that he'll seem to accept and join in with those of other faith practices with no sense of wrongdoing or betrayal then to the casual observer Christianity must have very little power over him, thus very little power at all.
While eating halal meat may present very little spiritual danger to the devout Christian it can very easily cause scandal for those outside the faith and for this reason it should be avoided.
The Catholic Church doesn't seem to have an official position so it looks as though I'm free to make up my own mind on the matter. To be on the safe side, no halal for me.
As I stated at the beginning of this, I don't believe that the problem is whether the meat is halal or not. The real problem is the imposition of Sharia and I believe that is the real, underlying goal of those that are pushing the halal meats on the rest of us.