Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get a life Cranmer!

We interrupt this series of posts on the Pope to comment in the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not the present incumbent, Rowan Williams, who once again is in trouble with the blogosphere, opinionsphere, and chattering classes, for saying nothing much at all, but somehow manages to make a hospital pass of a pretty standard question. ('Hospital pass' for non-rugby readers is a badly thrown pass which arrives at the same time as the opposition tacklers resulting in injury, mayhem, and worse, lost points!) Check out Thinking Anglicans etc.

No, here we comment on a previous incumbent, Cranmer, revived as an eminent blogger on religion and politics, who now declares himself shocked by revelations that New Zealand lamb sold in UK supermarkets has been killed according to the 'halal' method. He will no longer buy NZ lamb!

(1) This is not news Down Under.

(2) If Cranmer ("We do not presume to come ...") knows not what is means to be merciful then who does? First the earthquake, now the boycott, what is next?

(3) If the objection is to the method of killing lambs in order that we might have meat on the table, let's face the basic fact here: the lamb dies that we might live. One way or another the non-vegetarian eater needs to accept killing!!

(4) If the objection is to the In the Name of Allah invocation then what is the problem for the Christian? Some of us think Allah is God: no problem. Some of us think Allah is not God: in which case we are talking 'meat offered to idols'. Again, for the astute student of Paul: no problem.

(5) Cranmer has died once already and, apparently, lives to blog the tale: this meat cannot harm him!!!


Brother David said...

Allah is the Arabic word for God.

Arabic Christians pray to Allah!

I did not realize that NZ was such an Islamic hotbed.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
There are not many Muslims here, but there are a lot of lambs which need to be sold. The Middle East is a major market into which lamb is sold. To make things simple re distributing lamb around the world and making sure only halal lamb is sold in the ME, nearly all lamb is slaughtered as 'halal'.

Anonymous said...

The issue is not so much that the meat is 'halal' but that this fact is concealed from practically all buyers. Kosher meat involves a very similar procedure but is always designated as such and is sold only from kosher butchers.
Many people object on animal welfare grounds to kosher slaughter and they would feel the same about halal methods, whatever they think about Islam. The normal way is to give the animal an electric stun, then to kill. Secretly imposing halal food on unsuspecting shoppers is not honest. Muslims in the UK can buy from halal butchers if they wish.
What stops NZ freezing works labeling lamb 'halal'? Shame? Fear? Greed?
I should also add that the halal-only policy amounts to employment discrimination against non-Muslim (aka kfar) slaughtermen. It would be illegal in many countries.
Al M.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Al
Well, now the news is out of the bag, UK shoppers can treat NZ Lamb as halal and choose accordingly.

But I would make the point as a loyal Kiwi that the lamb tastes just as good whether it is halal or not and whether it has been killed by that method or not.

As for it being better than Welsh lamb, well, it is very simple: which country has the better rugby team? Ergo, our lamb must be better nutritionally :)

Peter Carrell said...

[For some unknown reason this comment from Bosco Peters would not publish in the usual way]

This is the second time recently that you have directed your readers to this unusual website, Peter. Last time I got involved in the thread and found it a rather un-insightful “dialogue”. I cannot see a response from you on “Cranmer’s” site?

Kiwi readers will be well aware of the recent controversy surrounding someone involved in the political sphere stealing a dead person’s identity. Certainly the more astute, more insightful, sixteenth century Cranmer would not make the errors of this 21st century imposter.

David is quite right. I have worshipped in many countries with Christians addressing God “Allah” (eg.Indonesia).

"Allah" is the word used by Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs in the Bible centuries before Islam. It is also essentially the Aramaic for “God” – so presumably was used by Jesus himself. When you say “Some [Christians] think Allah is not God: in which case we are talking 'meat offered to idols'” you are merely underscoring how uninformed and prejudiced these Christians are.



For further interest: http://translate.google.com/translate_t?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&text=Silahkan+ketik+Disini&file=&sl=id&tl=en&history_state0=#en|id|God%0A

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I think there's a bigger question here than how they kill the poor little lambs in the abbatoirs. It's not just to do with disclosure, taste, or saying the bismallah either.
The question is:
Why does the whole society have to change its practices to satisfy the consciences of a few? In this example, why is having known halal butchers not sufficient, ie the whole country has to adopt the practice?
My concern is that Western countries are applying Islamic practices to the whole society, rather than just enabling Muslims to practice them. I don't sucscribe to the conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over Western countries, but I don't see why Western societies should be changing their agricultural, financial and legal systems to apply Islamic practices to every one, often witout public discussion or debate.
We should welcome Muslim communities and uphold their rights to practice their beliefs, but we should be confident in our own heritage and traditions, rather than adopting Islamic practices society wide.
PS: My wife noticed this morning at the breakfast table that even Australia's beloved Vegemite has been certified Halal!

Peter Carrell said...

Vegemite? Marmite!

Plus: note to anonymous commenter: no anonymous comments!!

Brother David said...

Andrew, most food producers or purveyors worldwide have sought kosher and halal certifications for their products, basically for the money. By notifying potential buyers that this product indeed meets any dietary restrictions/requirements increases the number of purchasers many fold. In a crude explanation, it is fueled more by greed than any subservience to any particular religious faith.

Likewise, I think ultimately the Kiwi practice of halal slaughter is merely a matter of economics, increasing the potential for being able to sell product to a wider audience of consumers.

But I agree with all who have stated it, to do so clandestinely is wrong. The product should be labeled appropriately so the consumer can make informed decisions about their purchases. I was indeed ignorant that the Sikhs had a specific forbiddance of eating meat slaughtered halal. It is a disservice to have sold halal slaughtered meat to them without this information.

As for Christians, halal or kosher meats do not come close to meeting the admonition of St Paul. It is not meat offered to idols. However, that is not so of most of the fine tasting dishes prepared in many Asian restaurants around the world. Especially if the proprietors are Hindu.

Anonymous said...

Good point from David re Sikhs (of whom there are many in the UK). Sikhism defines itself as being NOT Islam!

Bosco writes: "Allah" is the word used by Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs in the Bible centuries before Islam."

There are no 'Jewish Arabs' in the Bible, though there were many Arabized Jews (or Judaized Arabs) in the 7th century Hejaz - Muhammad certainly killed many of them in his wars, such as the Battle of the Ditch, or confiscated their property in the Khaybar Oasis. Do we actually know how Arabized Jews and Arab Christians referred to God in pre-Islamic days? Did Arabized Jews pray in Arabic or Aramaic or Hebrew to ha-shem? The extant textual evidence of pre-Koranic Arabic (which I think is largely 8th century, following Christoph Luxenberg) is pretty scanty and uncertain. 'Allah' appears to mean 'the god' (assimilation of al-ilah). Does the word have a certain pre-Islamic pre-history? The relationship to the moon cult of the Ka'aba is uncertain.

"It is also essentially the Aramaic for “God” – so presumably was used by Jesus himself."

Only if you think 'homoiousion' is "essentially" 'homoousion'! The Aramic for 'God' which Jesus presumably used is " 'elah " (aleph-lamed-he with seghol and pathah vocalization) and renders " 'elohim ".

Arabic-speaking Christians do use 'Allah' for God, but recently the Malaysian government has tried to ban Christians using 'Allah' in Bahasa Bible translations, and I think there may been similar ructions in Indonesia. Some Muslims are very antsy on this question.

Peter, Welsh lamb is very good. They should feed it to their rugby players.

Al M.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Peter, 'Manawatu' was one of the pre-Islamic goddesses worshipped in the Ka'aba and mentioned (as Manat, the goddess of fate and daughter of Allah) in the 'Satanic Verses'. I wonder if the butchers at the Longburn freezing works know this ...
Al M. :)

Peter Carrell said...

I remember Manawatu well!

liturgy said...

Jesus presumably spoke "Aramic" only if you think 'homoiousion' is "essentially" 'homoousion'! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Bosco, some of us thnk fster thn we wrte or tpe on old kybrds. What did you think of the substance (ousia) of what I said? Do you know how pre-Islamic Arab Christians and Jews prayed? Are there any epigraphic or textual sources?

Al M.

Geoffrey said...

Very ill-informed comments from the hip from Down Under Anglicans. You need to open your eyes boys.

Go to your local NZ butcher tomorrow and ask if the meat is halal.Or ask him to point out which meat on display is NOT halal.

Do the same to your local supermarkets.

Follow the dollar and watch the financial benefits from halal certificiation in both our export and domestic markets.

Labelling is the issue. Those butchers and restaurants who are already labelled themselves "halal" have shown the way. The rest is all undercover.