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Friday, December 2, 2022

Halal show at Mumbai’s Islam Gymkhana cancelled after protests

An ‘International Halal Show India’ scheduled at Mumbai’s Islam Gymkhana on November 12 and 13 has been cancelled after local Hindus raised objections. More than 100 businesses dealing in halal products from food to cosmetics were expected to participate in the show.

The Halal economy, which mandates that only products certified Halal (permissible as per Islam) by an Islamic religious body like the controversial Jamaat-e-Ulema-Hind, has been gradually growing across the world, not just in Muslim-majority countries but also in Bharat.

Initially, the requirement for Muslims was to only consume halal meat, i.e. meat from animals slaughtered in the halal way (cutting jugular so that animal slowly bleeds out) by a Muslim butcher who calls on the name of Allah while doing so. In fact, Halal guidelines state that only Muslims can be employed in the entire meat packing and labelling process.

As Muslims insist on only halal meat while non-Muslims do not bother on what they are consuming, this has led to Hindu and Sikh communities traditionally involved in the meat business gradually getting excluded and unemployed. This is now changing, due to movements like Jhataka.org which are educating non-Muslims about the benefits of Jhataka meat in which the animal is killed with one swift blow thus reducing its suffering.

But what is even more worrying is the way the Halal economy has slowly crept into other areas, including packaged vegetarian food items, cosmetics, toothpastes, housing, clothing etc. Now, there is even talk of halal machines! Manufacturers would not like to invest extra in separate production lines for Halal and non-Halal products, so essentially most products are now being manufactured as per Halal guidelines, even though the bulk of the consumers are non-Muslim.

But who ensures that a product is halal-compliant?

A common aspect of all Halal products is that it has to be certified to be halal by an authority and this work is mostly done by Islamic religious-political organizations like Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind (JUH). Now, JUH is a hardline Islamist outfit of Deobandi clerics and politicians, which is against CAA, Ram Mandir and is funding the legal defense of Islamic terrorists, including convicted ones, across the country. Some JUH state units are run by Islamist politicians like AIUDF founder Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and TMC MLA Siddiqullah Chaudhary who are known for their Islamist and violence-inciting rhetoric and facilitation of illegal immigration.

So, due to the growing clout of Halal, non-Muslims indirectly end up funding organizations like JUH which are directly harming the country’s interests and fomenting radicalization in the Muslim community.

The organizers of ‘International Halal Show India’ tried to downplay these genuine concerns around the Halal economy, but putting out an anodyne message, “There is a misconception about halal products. These are products which are hygienically produced and packaged and facilitate healthy living.”

In a country and civilization which has given the world Ayurveda, an ancient science which tells us what food and lifestyle is good for us, Hindus and other Dharmics do not need a Halal certificate for ‘healthy living’.

Incidentally, the iconic Islamic Gymkhana has been in the thick of controversies and gained a dubious reputation off late. A woman accused its general secretary Nurul Amin, of sexually assaulting and abusing her inside a changing room in the Gymkhana, and then threatening her and her aged father with his underworld connections.

Last year, a case was lodged against its president and former Congress MLA Yusuf Abrahani for abusing and threatening an Assistant municipal commissioner. Later Abrahani faced the ire of Gymkhana members who accused him of turning the club into a madrasa by banning card games.

Conclusion

It is high time that this halal imposition be stopped, and the government should ensure that manufacturers/retailers/hoteliers who want to sell Halal goods set up separate establishments for producing Halal-certified goods. All costs of Halal certification should be added to the halal-certified product, and regular customers should be sold only non-halal products at lesser price. Hindus also need to become more aware and reject halal-only goods and opt for healthier jhatakat meat if they are non-vegetarians.

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