Monday, 6 September 2010

Why is 'halal' food so dangerous?

When it's available, I buy kosher for certain foods and travel across Paris to my favorite butcher who sells halal products. I know some people who choose kosher meals on flights because they believe that it's going to be better than the standard meals. The way some are reacting to this scandal that's not a scandal, you would think that eating halal will somehow force Islam on you and you will be a changed person. I can somewhat appreciate one mayor's concern that by selling halal only products at a Quick (when other Quick restaurants sell non-halal) might promote segregation instead of bringing people together but it still sounds like a stretch.

I can't say that I feel segregated when I buy food at my halal butcher. I'm much more interested in the fact that I'm buying the tastiest chickens for the best price in Paris. Is that really so bad?
On Wednesday, popular French fast food chain Quick, the No. 2 burger chain in France after McDonald's, started serving halal-only food in 22 of its French outlets, targeting France's large Muslim population, an underexploited market that has long been ignored by big business.

If it's a savvy business decision — Quick says sales doubled at restaurants that have tested the concept — the move has also opened a new chapter in the perennial war over how much society should accommodate Muslim traditions.

Or in essence, what it means to be French.

Politicians left and right have attacked the move from every conceivable angle. Some ask why halal food should be foisted on the general population, while others worry the Quicks in question will promote segregation of the Muslim community instead of acceptance. France argues that integration is the only option for minorities, and the only way to preserve social cohesion.
Just a guess here but any talk about "preserving" social cohesion is a joke. It doesn't exist today and focusing on side issues like this rather than true integration into schools and jobs will only delay any serious progress on the issue.

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